A political prisoner, en route to the grimmest and harshest corner of eastern Siberia, escapes the closely guarded slave train and finds himself in a wild and primitive land. In this remote outpost of Communist Russia are freedom loving nomads who hunt, fish and are apart from the political pressures and terrors that grip other parts of the Soviet Union. Hryhory is found half-dead by the fiercely independent Sirko family and nursed back to health by Natalia, the brave and lovely daughter. It is an idyllic sort of life. The Sirko family teach him to fish at night by torch light, to capture mountain lions with his bare hands so that the fur is not damaged. And there, instead of being exposed to the brain-washing and slow death at the hands of the NKVD, our hunted prisoner finds love and eventually freedom across the border when he and Natalia escape....Though written as fiction, the fact that the author was himself a political prisoner leads one to feel that parts of the story are taken from his own experiences. The terrifying realization of the thousands sent into exile for differing in imperceptible degree from those at the moment in control is brought out by the juxtaposition of the terror of the Soviet world and the freedom and trust given him by the Sirkos. It has a sense of being authentic, first hand material. The exact period is not indicated, but presumably it dates back a decade.