"Popoff constructs a narrative of a toxic, controlling friendship, in which Chertkov manipulated Tolstoy for his own gain."The New Yorker
On the snowy morning of February 8, 1897, the Saint Petersburg secret police were following Tolstoy's every move, and he was always in the company of a man named Chertkov. Tolstoy was recognizable enough, with his peasant garb and beard, but who was the man who towered over Tolstoy, twenty years younger, with a cold, impenetrable look on his face? This man, Chertkov, was a relative to the Tsars and nephew to the chief of the secret police and represented the very things Tolstoy had renounced. He would become the writer's closest confidant, reading even his diary, and at the end of Tolstoy's life, Chertkov had him in his complete control, preventing him from even seeing his own wife on his deathbed.
Alexandra Popoff is the author of the award-winning biography Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography and The Wives: The Women Behind Russia's Literary Giants, a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives in Canada.
Table of Contents
A Note on Russian Names xi
Chapter 1 Born to Privilege 1
Chapter 2 Unlikely Friends 22
Chapter 3 A Laborer for God 43
Chapter 4 Happy and Unhappy Families 66
Chapter 5 Evil Genius 87
Chapter 6 Tolstoy Under Surveillance 114
Chapter 7 The Tsar of the Tolstoyans 131
Chapter 8 "A Graven Image" 156
Chapter 9 Beyond the Grave 178
Chapter 10 The Greatest Literary Scandal 202
Chapter 11 Chertkov vs. Tolstoy's Youngest Daughter 234
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