Picks and Pans Review: The Man from St. Petersburg
It's shortly before World War I, and an upstart British politician named Churchill wants to make certain Russia will join the battle against Germany. To that end, he enlists the aid of a snobbish earl married to a Russian countess. Her nephew, a prince, comes to England to negotiate an agreement but he is stalked by an anarchist assassin. For those readers who admired Follett's other novels, especially Eye of the Needle with its ruthless German spy, this novel will be most welcome. Perhaps it's the post-Edwardian era he's chosen, but Follett is even more romantic this time than previously, in scenes such as the presentation at court of the earl's daughter. Despite her sheltered life, the countess is irresistibly drawn to the crazed killer. And there are several neat surprises. Although Churchill is a minor character, for instance, he comes through with a startling decision at the end. (Morrow, $14.50)
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