In 1946, after five years as a prisoner—first as a Soviet POW in Nazi concentration camps, then as a deportee (falsely accused of treason) to the Arctic Gulag—29-year-old Lev Mishchenko unexpectedly received a letter from Sveta, the sweetheart he had hardly dared hope was still alive. Amazingly, over the next eight years the lovers managed to exchange more than 1500 messages, and even to smuggle Sveta herself into the camp for secret meetings. Their recently discovered correspondence is a unique record of life in Stalin's Gulag, fashioned here into a dual biography by the author of The Crimean War and The Whisperers.
"A book to astonish readers…. This powerful narrative by a distinguished historian will take its place not just in history but in literature."—Robert K. Massie