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.
Tsarist Russia, 1904: a time of war, shortages, and popular unrest. Anna enrols at university and is befriended by twins, Rosa and Boris, who draw her into the revolutionary movement. As Anna finds new purpose to her life and falls in love, the violent struggle against the Tsar escalates. On 9 January 1905, a workers' protest is massacred by Tsarist soldiers, with tragic results for the three friends. Now Anna must continue the revolutionary struggle, knowing that to do so will mean sacrificing everything she holds dear.
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."