Set against the Russian Revolution of 1905, a prelude to that of 1917, this novel explores the complexity of relationships and motivations that lead to acts of rebellion.
On the 9th of January, 1905, known as Bloody Sunday, whilst marching in protest against the Tsar, Anna’s son, Kolva, is killed when soldiers fire into the crowd. The soldier responsible for Kolva’s death comes to apologise but Anna does not forgive him.
Anna is loved by twins Boris and Rosa, but Anna loves Rosa. When an opportunity for revenge against Kolva’s killer occurs Anna is forced to chose between Boris’ plan or her love for Rosa.
In the event, the soldier is with his young son, and Anna refuses to kill a child but Boris goes ahead to throw the bomb.
The novel reflects the reality of the Russian and other revolutions where women played a full part.
“The real terrorist women of Russia were, above all, individuals who were motivated by a deep sense of the political and economic injustice of the Tsarist autocracy. They were driven to commit acts of terror by the lack of legitimate routes for political campaigning and by the violence perpetrated by the regime itself against those who tried to protest. Some were rich and some were poor. Most were educated. Some were wives; a few were mothers. What defined them, however, was their common cause with their male colleagues and their shared use of terrorism to further their political aims. Each made a rational choice to commit her act of violence.”