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Devil’s Acre

Author(s): Jonathan Bastable

Location(s): Moscow, St Petersburg (Leningrad)

Genre(s): Fiction

Era(s): 1812-1990s

Devil’s Acre is a novel about love, Russia and forbidden architecture.

Moscow, 1982. The oppressive Soviet regime is solidly in place: Leonid Brezhnev is praised to the skies for the brilliance of his unreadable memoirs: and the KGB is keeping a watchful eye on the weary and demoralised masses.

Vadim, a young Leningrader, is headed to the capital to begin his journalism studies at MGU, Moscow State University. But he has a research project of his own in mind. He wants to find out about the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour – built close to the Kremlin as a memorial to Russia’s victory over Napoleon, but demolished in 1931 to make way for an immense Palace of Soviets. The Palace was intended to be the largest building in the world, a beacon of communism. But like communism, it never materialised. As for the lost church, it became a taboo subject, and the mere mention of the Cathedral of Christ was an act of anti-Soviet propaganda.

Vadim knows this, but proceeds with his quest anyway. And when he enlists the help of Rachel, an American exchange student, his passion draws them both into a sinister and dangerous vortex…

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