A book with a wealth of knowledge of people, history, facts, -- with a lively imagination for the future, which introduces a Soviet modern author in this story of Kurilov. Kurilov merges his work as Chief of the Political Bureau of the railroad with his symbolic dream of the Ocean. His orbit touches those of a score of other Russians, personifying all aspects of the country. Kurilov investigates wrecks, gets on the trail of a long time enemy, and through a complex pattern of associations, becomes an important faster in the life of Liza, would-be-actress, wife of his enemy's brother; through his illness, the means of defeating his enemy; and through his death the catalytic agent in those lives his has touched. Personifying the vigilance, the past and future of Russia, Kurilov's life and character resembles his symbolic Ocean as an aim and a dream. The 507 pages of this book are filled with interpolated life stories of the many, --typical, but highly individual, -- characters who are part of Kurilov's story, -- and with long inclusions of fact and fancy. The whole results in an often satisfying, fascinating, sometimes uneven novel of Russia.