THE THREE PASSIONS OF COUNTESS NATALYA by Alan Fisher

THE THREE PASSIONS OF COUNTESS NATALYA

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Messy but bouncy chase-adventures--in and around Petrograd before and during the Russian Revolution. Natalya is the Countess Meretskova, a beautiful and kindly girl, unaccountably having an affair with an unlovely Cossack general, Paul Malnekov. Eventually, however, Natalya does leave Malnekov--to serve diligently as nurse in a nearby hospital. And her path is soon crossing those of several intriguing visitors and residents: English engineer Michael Stern, a guilt-ridden soldier who's been bullied into taking on a daunting task (shoring up bridges on 700 miles of track from Petrograd into the Arctic circle); American merchant Martin Baumler, ambitious trader in legal goods and contraband; young Helen Mirsky, a student who works for informer Professor Zubov (""just a little bit Red""); Peter Koltrov, a Bolshevik whose brother played chess with Stern's late father in the Meretskova Mills; and small, rotund Popov, who spies for the Tsar, or the Reds, or just about anybody. All of these people continually run into each other, either to join forces or clash at cross-purposes. Both Koltrov and Stern become Malnekov's rival for Natalya's affections. Stern saves Koltrov's life at regular intervals. Then comes the Revolution: Koltrov is made a commissar--while Natalya refuses to swear absolute allegiance to the new regime. So terrible conflicts-of-interest will arise when Koltrov must authorize Natalya's death-sentence (for treason). . . while Stern sets out from Murmansk to rescue her. Complete with an atmospheric escape-finale on a snowy expanse in Finland: silly but lively Russian Revolution melodrama, kept a-bustle by a likable cast.

Pub Date: May 6th, 1985
Publisher: Macmillan