A quite pointless book, in my opinion, and one that certainly does not warrant the concentration required to try to sort out motives and plot patterns and character development from the rather confused shifts of focus from one set of characters to another, or from the long and tenuous conversations which are typical of Russian novels, it would seem, but which in this book get nowhere. Dasha is a protegee of rossia (an earlier novel by that name was equally dull), a cripple in childhood, cured in a Crimean sanitorium and returned to a suburb of Leningrad to the new home of her peasant mother, now married to a stuffed shirt in the Soviet bureaucracy. Attempt is made to give a picture of life in Russia, emerging from the deprivations of Civil War and its aftermath, and preceding the outbreak of the present war. But it seems derivative, second hand, and unconvincing. Miss Almedingen was at her best when writing her own story, Tomorrow Will Come. Fiction is not her forte.