Aleksandr made a silent promise to the Lord. God would deliver him - would deliver Russia - and he would make Russia into the country that the Almighty wanted it to be. He would be delivered from the destruction that wasteth at noonday, and from the pestilence that walketh in darkness - the terror by night...1825. Russia has been at peace for a decade. Bonaparte is long dead and the threat of invasion is no more. For Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, life is calm. The French have been defeated, as have the twelve monstrous creatures he once fought alongside, and then against, all those years before. His duty is still to his tsar, Aleksandr the First, but today the enemy is merely human. However, the tsar himself knows he can never be at peace. He is well aware of the uprising fermenting within his own army, but his true fear is of something far more terrible - something that threatens to bring damnation upon him, his family and his country. Aleksandr cannot forget a promise: a promise sealed in blood...and broken a hundred years before. Now the victim of the Romanovs' betrayal has returned to demand what is his. The knowledge chills Aleksandr's very soul. And for Aleksei, it seems the vile pestilence that once threatened all he held dear has returned, thirteen years later.
Fans of Jaspers original novel will be dying to get their hands on this offering and it pretty much brings back the horrific history of the Russian Napoleonic war as the principle protagonist returns to face the events that helped shaped Russia’s history. Personally I enjoyed Jaspers writing style but it is one that is a pretty hard slog and so will turn a number of readers off as they try to adjust to this almost Dickensian style that fits into the style of telling presented within. The dialogue is pretty good, the descriptiveness pretty straight forward as if the character thought that the tale was told just to those who were familiar with the area and of course we’re introduced to new characters to help our hero in the struggle ahead.
On a negative side however you really will have to have read the original to get the full benefit from this tale as otherwise you’ll be not only out in a Siberian Cold snap but left for dead pretty damn quick and possibly even mad with confusion as to what’s happening. I suspect its only down to myself refamiliarising myself with a reread of the original that allowed me to keep the idea’s fresh in my memory as I read this novel. Remember you’ve been warned.