A novel depicting life among the privileged classes through that era of Soviet Russia which ends with the capture of Berlin. There is the precarious fame and luxury -- then the constant fear of imprisonment or death, the warped human relationships. The story revolves around the poet Luganov, his wife Vera, a noted ballet dancer, and his lifelong friend and foster brother, Volkov, communist party member and Marshall of the Red Army. The story begins with the boyhood- then the Revolution where Volkov rises high in the party, Luganov becomes one of the Soviet's foremost poets and marries Vera, only later to be betrayed by some alleged friends for a harmless epigram. Vera is tricked into giving further information and her career is ruined. And finally Volkov's loyalty to the party wins out over his loyalty to his friend and he has Luganov killed, only to face the realization after the capture of Berlin, that a summons to Moscow indicates that he, too, is doomed. The hopelessness of the vicious circle in which they live is well conveyed, and the story is holding reading.