Reads more like biographical fiction than straight biography, as the style is narrative, and incorporates much imaginative detail rooted in research and facts drawn from primary source material. It is a full-blooded story of adventure, hardship and tragedy, with plenty of gory details and realistic pictures of the grim life of the nettlers on the rugged northwest coastline. The tale holds closely to the vivid, human personality of the leader of the colonies, Baranov, starting with his humble origins, and tracing his career as leader of the far distant Russian colony on Kodlak Island. Almost single-handed, he drove himself and his men until the settlement expanded to another island, to Sitka, even to the mainland. He explored the entire area of Alaska, and the Aleutians; he piled up profits in furs for his company; he made friends with the natives and married a chief's daughter; he built ships out of hand-hewn lumber. Tragedy and violence came in the wake of his achievements; shipwreck, trouble with his man, the massacre on Sitka: a brief period of the easier life of an administrator as governor recognized by the Tsar -- and finally, more troubles, and displacement by his son-in-law, a young naval officer. Old and weary and disillusioned, he started back to Russia, but died before he reached there. And soon after, Russia tired of the Alaskan experiment and sold Alaska to the U.S.A. in 1867...Alaska and the Aleutians are in the news. This should give added impetus to the sale of a fascinating book.