Lenin's Harem

Lenin's Harem

by William Burton McCormick




Latvia, 1905. Amidst the ashes of the failed workers' rebellions of 1905, Latvian aristocrat Wiktor Rooks finds that he has lost everything: home and heritage, his life's very purpose. Coerced into the Russian Army, Wiktor is soon swept up into the turbulent years of the Great War and Bolshevik Revolution. In the service of his enemies, he finds himself torn between the noble classes of his birth and his new communist masters, between calls for freedom on Baltic shores and waves of oppression radiating from Moscow's centre. By a twist of fate, he becomes a member of the elite Red Riflemen of the Revolution, a regiment nicknamed Lenin's Harem for their absolute loyalty to the cause. Wiktor adapts to his situation by hiding his aristocratic past. He finds friendship amongst the soldiers and love with a communist girl. When the wars end, he returns to his homeland a different man. But betrayals await in R?ga and Stalin's soldiers are soon knocking on the midnight door... Set in Russia and Latvia between 1905 and 1941, 'Lenin's Harem' is a story of nationhood, brotherhood and love throughout the most turbulent years of the twentieth century. The novel explores identity in a time of changing loyalties, and the search for a just struggle when all causes are tainted by bloodshed and betrayal.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781908483447
Publisher: Knox Robinson Publishing
Publication date: 12/06/2012
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 292
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

William graduated from Brown University with a degree in Ancient Studies and earned an MA in Novel Writing from the University of Manchester. In March 2012, his short fiction was nominated for the Short Mystery Fiction Society's prestigious Derringer Award.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Born to an aristocratic life of wealth and privilege, but driven from the family home by resentful Latvian peasants, a young German struggles to survive and protect his love from the brutalities of a domineering brother, class struggle, war, and communist rule. The attention to historical detail and depth of introspection are worthy of Pasternak or Solzhenitsyn. Enthralling, reads as true as my grandfather’s letters.”
Daniel Wagner, former Dean of the CIA’s Sherman Kent School for Intelligence Analysis

"An engrossing and well managed piece of writing, chronicling a fascinating and turbulent period of Russian and Latvian history while never once losing sight of the need to drive the narrative through the personal tale of its hero, Wiktor Rooks."
Martyn Bedford, Costa shortlisted author of Flip

"William Burton McCormick vividly depicts the tragedies of the 20th century through eyes of a single Latvian Rifleman. With Wiktor Rooks, we witness the destruction of traditional society and its seemingly conservative values, to be replaced with new social, political and national ideas, innovations all ultimately perverted to hell by their adherents. The novel considers the eternal problems of humanity as cast through the dark prism of actual historical events."
Professor Kaspars Klavins, Riga Technical University and Fellow, Royal Society of Arts (UK)

"William Burton McCormick takes us right inside lives that would otherwise be not simply invisible to us but unimaginable."
Suzannah Dunn, author of The Confession of Katherine Howard

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Lenin's Harem 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The Author has literally let us walk with the main character of this book, Latvian aristocrat Wiktor Rooks. We begin with the 1905 uprising in Latvia, and end on the road to WWII. Wiktor is just a young boy, living with his family on their Estate, when the serf uprising happens. We walk in his shoes throughout this book. What descriptions of being in the trenches during WWI...could just picture the clouds of gas as they covered the area. He watches the bodies being stacked like cord wood. We see that you really can trust no One!! Even as an Officer he is mistrusted because of his Aristocrat background. Hard to make any lasting friendship...if their was such a thing. An excellent read to remember the World in the early 1900's. Although the title made me thing of a lot of Women, it actuality it means...the name of a Latvian military unit of which the main character was a part of. A work of fiction, but packed with truth! I received this book from Knox Robinson Publishing, and was not required to give a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lenin’s Harem paints an exquisite depiction of an early 1900’s war-torn Eastern European landscape, driven by the narrative of a compelling character on a quest to see his family heritage restored. I found myself fully engrossed in the story, expertly written by the author, breathing every breath of the main character throughout. This book satisfies and surpasses every goal it strives for - in spades.
WJMSr More than 1 year ago
This book is a great read if you are interested in the little known story of the role that the Latvian riflement played in the Russian defense of the homeland from the German armies and the subsequent betrayal by the Russian rulers. The author has produced an exciting and incredibly realistic story of a Latvian soldier who mixes his German,Latvian and Russian roots and experiences as he seeks to survive during the Russian revolution and WWI. Caught between the Germans and the Russians he struggles to find his place in Latvia as the war and revolution unfold and devastate his home, homeland and life. The excellent reviews this book has received are well deserved in the first work of this young author. The Latvian Ambassador recently met the author, hosted a book signing at the Embassy, endorsed the book and commented that the book told the story of the struggle of the Latvian people through the early 20th Century. A read you will likely enjoy.
Ellie74 More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Since I was not familiar with either the period or the place, I was interested from the gate-go. I was not disappointed as the German born narrator, Wictok, navigates the muddy waters of life in the Baltic at the turn of the 20th century. I very much enjoyed the cultural study the author presents regarding the struggle between Russians, Germans and Letts. A very good story that takes the reader from the trenches of the Russian Army, to falling in love with someone from the "wrong" culture. I truly enjoyed the political games the narrator needs to play in order to preserve both his rank and his own social and cultural identity, at a time when they run the risk of becoming mutually exclusive. The political backdrop against which the story is set constitutes a wonderful addition without overwhelming the reader who can truly focus on Wiktor's life and struggles. A very fun read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For several weeks before reading this book I was constantly looking for a book that would hold my interest. Lenin’s Harem did just that! From the first chapter to the last, the reader cares about the characters and reads on to see that all their problems are resolved. The historical background of the novel could be ponderous and overwhelming, but it is not so. Even if the reader does not understand the history in all its detail, he or she will understand and care about the characters in this setting. The story reminded me of Dr. Zhivago and Red Badge of Courage merged into one interesting story. Moments of military action, moments of psychological thought, and moments of quiet beauty artfully described combine to keep the reader interested. This is a good read with an interesting story and beautiful descriptions. The title is misleading, but oh so welcome not to be about women in Lenin’s life, but his followers and soldiers. Interesting choice of title.
Which_Witch More than 1 year ago
Very interesting historically, but poorly written. So filled with spelling, grammatical and puncutation errors, I thought it had been written by someone for whom English was a second language. Perhaps the author should search for a new editor.