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The Heroes Have Returned...But the Turmoil Rages On
As the war in the Balkans draws to its bitter and devastating close, Prince Sergi returns to St. Petersburg and to his love, the young servant Anna Burenin. But the battles still rages—both within Sergi's heart and in the revolution that threatens to overthrow the tsar's tenuous control over his vast empire.
Anna's brother Paul, disillusioned with a peasant's lot in tsarist Russia, joins with his revolutionary friends. Yet even as he seeks to make a difference for the future of his beloved Motherland, his violent actions may endanger the life of the sister he loves so well.
Torn between love for her family and devotion to the Fedorcenko family, Anna faces life-changing decisions. Her faith in God and His intervention is all that supports her as she stands in the gap to keep her loved ones—and all of Russia—from becoming...a house divided.
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Judith Pella is the bestselling author/coauthor of seven major fiction series, including the LONE STAR LEGACY and THE RUSSIANS, as well as the novels Blind Faith and Beloved Stranger. She and her family make their home in California.
VISIT JUDITH PELLA'S WEBSITE: member.aol.com/pellabooks/ size : 5.4 x 8.3Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Seeds of Rebellion March 1879
St. Petersburg was as magnificent as Paul had imagined it. He wished he were free to enjoy the pleasure of standing at its center and feeling the pulse of its life.
But he could enjoy no such liberty—neither freedom of body, for his was pursued; nor freedom of soul, for his was tormented. The days of youthful joy had been left far behind. Even his own sister, if he knew where to find her in this sprawl of buildings and people and activity, would look upon him as a stranger—and a despised one at that!
The years following the Turkish War were filled with great agitation and discontent in the huge land at the outposts of Europe’s eastern frontier. Its cities had become cauldrons of terror. This was no season for the idealistic dreams of youth; and it was certainly no time for a young man whose dreams were steadily being shattered on the shoals of realism to venture into a nation’s fomenting turmoil.
But young Paul Yevnovich Burenin had been drawn toward the great Russian capital as one whose destiny could find itself fulfilled in no other place. A short time ago, his hopes had been high. He had been enthusiastic about his studies, and had applied himself diligently and with single-mindedness. He had tried hard to honor his word to his father and put aside ideas of politics and rebellion in exchange for the opportunity he had been given at the Gymnasium in Pskov.
His dedication had even earned him the praise and admiration of his teachers. Yevno had been proud of his son, who had quickly risen to the top of his class. Paul worked with such fervor that he had no time for secret meetings, or any reading matter beyond what his studies required. He appeared in every way the shining example of a reformed young man who had at last put the ideas of his radical friends behind him. Even the constable in Akulin had commented on the fact to Yevno.
“Well, Yevno Pavlovich, it would seem that a night in my jail straightened the boy right out, eh?”
Whatever the cause, Paul had seemed well on the pathway of becoming a useful, perhaps even influential, Russian citizen.
Then his friend’s death ... the attack on the headmaster ... again the jail ... and then his flight. Suddenly his hopes faded into obscurity, and his eyes were opened to the true nature of things.
He had been a fool to imagine that attending school could make any difference. Kazan and the others had been right all the time! A glance around him in any direction as he walked along Nevsky Prospect confirmed it. With mingled wonder and chagrin he gazed about at the gaudy display surrounding him—the profusion of carriages filled with dandily outfitted bourgeois, the opulent grandeur of the railway buildings, shop windows crammed with a dazzling assortment of Western wares.
Had he dreamed of coming to St. Petersburg for this? Could a true and loyal Russian possibly survive this great defilement? Could a man of conviction maintain his resolve and passion for change in the midst of such corrupt influences from the West?
In his loneliness in such a strange place, Paul vacillated between hatred of everything he saw, and a longing to return to the warmth and safety of his father’s cottage. He wondered if he had done the right thing by leaving Pskov and making this pilgrimage to the capital. He did not know he would end up here—alone, cold, with no place to go. Part of him longed to try to find Anna. But would she turn against him too?
In reality, his decision to flee, to leave forever behind him the scenes of his boyhood, had been no real decision at all. His choice had been thrust upon him unsought by evil circumstances, by the nagging hand of fate that seemed to be dogging him his whole life.
His whole life ...
Even at seventeen, Paul could not help but feel as if long, gray years had already passed him by. The gulf between his past and future already seemed to yawn widely as he looked forward, then back.
He was no longer a boy. He had relinquished all the securities and comforts of youth the day when shame, and the business with Aleksi Alexandrovich, forced him to turn away from the loving circle of his family. He had fled to the harsh uncertainties of St. Petersburg, rather than to seek solace and hope and shelter in the arms of an understanding and compassionate father.
Whether he had done right or wrong, he could not judge. He was hungry and uncertain; how could he trust what he might think?
He was here. Only that he could say for sure. And he could not go back. For the present, St. Petersburg—and fate—held his future in their hands.
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