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“Sonja's Run ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 13/01/2005

Sonja's Run
Richard Hoyt
Forge, Feb 2005, $24.95, 352 pp.
ISBN: 0765306158

In late 1852 or early 1853, depending on which calendar you use, Tsar Nicholas hosts a Christmas gala in which he invites Mikhail Sankov, but the ailing poet is unable to attend. Instead, his daughter, also a poet but with a revolutionary fervor, Sonja Sankova, goes escorted by her father's friend, mathematician Arkady Migalkin.

At the party, Peter "Colonel Cut" Koslov, head of the vicious wolfpack, decides that the pretty waif Sonja would make an ideal addition to his "collection." He woos her by boasting about his powers that include cutting off the testicles and ears of peasants. Angry and a student of Tzu, Sonja punches Peter, knocking him to the floor. She flees as he vows to cut off her ears.

Sonja, garbed as a boy, takes her father towards the Urals so he can die in his birthplace while Koslov follows ,having already mutilated and killed Arkady. At the same time, American daguerreotype photographer Jack Sandt tours Russia with the lofty goal of making pictures of the various races he meets. When he and Sonja meet, they fall in love, but first she must complete her father's final mission of being buried in his birthplace and than there is Colonel Cut who will not rest until he retaliates for his humiliation.

SONJA'S RUN is a fantastic, historical thriller that brings to life the mid-nineteenth century in Russia. The storyline is action-packed from the moment Sonja knocks down the abusive Koslov and never slows down until after he finally catches up to confront her. The secondary cast like the Tsar and Karl Marx add depth to an insightful tale that centers on the seeds of the Revolutions sixty plus years later were already deeply ingrained by 1853.

Harriet Klausner

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