People envy Nikolai Delov. He is a so-called New Russian, one of the fortunate who acquired wealth since the breakup of the Soviet Union. At forty-eight, Nikolai now runs the nationwide shipping company that his father, brother, and he had started with only one truck. Nikolai is driven, occasionally ruthless, and determined to make his mark. Unfortunately, other aspects of his life are a wreck. He finds himself divorced, alone, and often at odds with his only son.
Then one morning a foundation director named Inessa Zorina goes to Nikolai’s office to solicit money for a new rehab house in the Moscow region for sex trafficking victims. His contribution gains him access to the lovely Inessa. She soon tricks him into assisting her with the rescue of a seventeen-year-old girl held captive by a violent pimp. Gradually, Nikolai and Inessa’s relationship draws him into a dark world that he would’ve preferred to ignore.
In this atmosphere of social change and danger, Nikolai struggles to refine his identity while trying to protect the people and things most dear to him. He recognizes only two possible outcomes: the complete happiness he’s always sought or complete destruction.
"Dante has crafted an engrossing novel with an evocative and authentic sense of place and an engaging protagonist facing myriad challenges. . .The sympathetic and flawed lead character puts a haunting human face on contemporary Russia, often demonized by the media." ---Kirkus Reviews
"This richly developed story of a man's quest for identity in post-Soviet Russia will entertain and enthrall readers of slice-of-life literary fiction." ---BookLife Reviews