THE RUSSIAN CONCUBINE
Based on stories told by Furnivall's
mother, this novel, with its unique background and fascinating historical events, presents an exciting portrait of a time and place. Though there's great deal of historically accurate violence, which may disturb some readers, the strong characters, a wonderful heroine and a colorful backdrop will intrigue.
As White Russian aristocrats fleeing the Bolshevik Revolution, Lydia Ivanova and her mother, Valentina,
settle in the International Settlement in Junchow, China. They find no sanctuary in a city run by thieving gangs,
corrupt politicians and Communists, and Lydia resorts to stealing to keep herself and her mother alive.
Her escapades attract the attention of a powerful gang, and she finds an unlikely savior in Chang An Lo, an English-speaking kung fu master and Communist supporter. The two begin
a clandestine affair -- it's forbidden
for a Chinese and a foreigner to be together. As their love grows Chiang Kai Shek's troops are marching on Junchow with orders to kill the rebels. Even though Chang has a tsarina's jewels to present to the leader, the lovers are in great peril. (Berkley, Jul., 560 pp., $15.00)