I don’t mind admitting that I was a little bit disappointed by this book. Not that it wasn’t good – just that I expected more. The book tells the story of two men, and the narrative switches from one to another throughout the book. The first of the men is Moritz Daniecki, who fought in the Austro-Hungarian army and survives fighting in the Great War, only to become a POW in Siberia. In 1917, determined to see the love of his life, Lotte, again, Moritz has to trek over the Russian Steppes, encountering danger and hardship along the way. He does not even know if Lotte is still alive, or if she still wants to be with him, but the memory of her love is enough to make him keep going.
Leo Deakin wakes in a South American hospital in 1992, having survived the bus crash which killed his girlfriend Eleni. Leo sinks into a depression, from which it seems that there is no way out, but he is about to make a discovery which may change his life forever.
The connection between these two men is not revealed at first, although I guessed it very early on. Although the book is an easy enough read, at times I did find myself on the verge of getting bored with it, and even getting slightly irritated. That’s not to say that it isn’t well written…I just found it very difficult to engage with the characters.
That said, the characters are certainly well drawn. I preferred Moritz’s story to that of Leo, and felt that the cold and tough conditions which Moritz had to endure were very well described. Had the entire book been about his story, I would have enjoyed it far more.
(Author’s website can be found here.)