Sent out to Russia by the Foreign Office in 1916, Jerry Lawrence and Henry Bohun find themselves unlikely travelling companions. Bohun, an immaculately dressed man who holds himself in high regard as a poet, feels the force of destiny to be a 'great man'; Lawrence appears a rough and ready character. On arrival in Petrograd, they are drawn into the destructive and complex relationships of the Markovitch family, with whom Bohun has taken lodgings. As the build-up towards revolution increases, Bohun's passions are stirred by one of the Markovitch sisters - a situation which seems destined to cause trouble when their uncle Semyonov, who has powerful political connections, turns up at Christmas. Set at the time of the Russian Revolution, this novel draws on Hugh Walpole's own experiences as a newspaper correspondent, and was first published in 1919.