Leonid Yuzefovich

Narrative non-fiction. AST (Shubina). Moscow 2021. 384 pages.
Foreign rights: Greek/ Kastaniotis, Romania/ Editura Media Litera, Serbia/ Russika
Awards: 2021 Big Book Award, 2021 Yasnaya Polyana Award, finalist

The twenties of the 19th century. In Greece there is a war for independence from the Ottoman Empire. The revolutionaries have many sympathisers throughout Europe who are willing to voluntarily defend the old culture and fight to preserve the old greatness. This is what they are called: Philhellenes - lovers of the Greeks. Although the Russian Tsar Alexander I is not eager to interfere in the war of others, there are such Philhellenes in Russia too. One of them is the retired Ural staff captain Grigory Mostsepanov. He is sure that he has found a way to radically change the course of the war in Greece, and must tell everything to the Emperor himself as soon as possible.

This historical novel, told in the form of letters, diary entries and mental conversations of absent heroes, focuses not only on the Philhellenes of the Urals. Numerous people and representatives of different nations and social classes come to word, which paints a multi-faceted picture of a bygone era. The plot begins in the factories of Nizhny Tagil, continues in Yekaterinburg, Perm, Tsarskoye Selo and Taganrog, leads from Russia to Nafplio and Alexandria and ends in Athens on the Acropolis. The novel's main characters include Alexander I, the mystical baroness Julia Kriedner, the Egyptian general Ibrahim Pasha and other documentary figures.