Tag Archives: Russia

Last of the Breed

Louis L’Amour is my favorite author and this one does not disappoint. Brilliant story of a US air force pilot and a red Indian shot down and captured by Russians for information. Major Joe Mack is a Red Indian, a Sioux and knowing all the survival skills of his forefathers. He escapes prison by pole vaulting above the prison walls and then, in freezing temperatures, sprints across the cold, frozen Russian land and has to use all the skills of his ancestors to survive and be on the run for days, months and years. He meets a family of hunters and trappers, stays with them for a while, hunting meat for them and falling silently in love with the daughter Natalya. He is faced with with the guile of an Yakut, a Russian who has similar intelligence as him to trace him out of his hidings, Alekhin. He fears only Alekhin and has to constantly place secret snares and traps for his followers to fall to death. The deadly game of cat and mouse goes on for a couple of seasons with the KGB after his blood. Brilliant narrative as usual from Louis L’Amour – a pulsating, throbbing novel bought to life by the master. Goodreads 5/5

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Lilya-4-Ever

What a beautiful heart rending movie directed by Lukas Moodysson, Lilya-4-Ever (2002) is a tragic story of a young girl forced into prostitution. The Russian movie stars Oksana Akinshina in the main role of Lilya, a young school going girl, who has her world torn apart, when her mother leaves for the United States with her new boyfriend, without taking her. Forced to move out from her mother’s home into a squalid apartment, she has only one true friend Volodya (Artyom Bogucharsky) an equally tormented kid with an abusive father. Lilya runs out of money so she is forced to sell herself to buy some clothes for herself. Later a gang of kids come to her apartment and rape her. In the bar, she meets someone who seems to be nice to her and starts liking her. Andrei (Pavel Ponomoryov) promises to take her to Sweden to work there and provide there comforts for her. That promise proves to be a facade to lure her into prostitution in Sweden. Meanwhile her true friend Vododya, commits suicide in Russia. Beautiful gut wrenching tale of something that happens regularly in this world with a lot of young girls. Oksana Akinshina as Lilya has done a wonderful role as has Artyom Bogucharsky as Volodya. The ending is quite tragic. Oksana won a clutch of awards for her acting.

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Anna

This is a historical fiction book written by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles about the life of Anne Peters, an English lady who is stranded in Paris, when war breaks out and she has to leave her employment in Paris in haste. She develops friendship with one Russian Count Kirov who rescues her from Paris and asks her to become a governess to his children back in Russia. She arrives in St. Petersburg and is named as Anna Petrova and while taking care of the children, also falls in love with the Count. One of the count’s children goes missing and Anna goes searching for her, the kid starts to see some visions which takes her somewhere far away. In the meanwhile one Cossack tribe leader is smitten by Anna and proposes marriage to her. Set during the Napoleonic wars in Paris and Russia, the novel sputters after a good start and fails to reach an epic climax. Goodreads 2/5

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles has written a lot of historical fiction books especially the Kirov trilogy of which this book was the first part, and the Morland Dynasty series which is on British history from Middle ages to the Second World War and the Bill Slider mystery series and several single novels.

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Red Sparrow

2018 Hollywood spy thriller starring Jennifer Lawrence, Joel Edgerton among others. Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence) is a ballerina in Russia when she is seriously injured in one performance. She has an uncle in the secret service of Russia and he is forever plotting something for the State. He ropes in Dominika to do some dirty spy work, makes her vulnerable what with her invalid mother to take care of, she falls for it. The Russians think they have a mole in their ranks higher up in their hierarchy while Dominika discovers there is somebody higher up in the Senate ready to throw in the goodies. There is a lot of violence, sex, more violence, more sex, people talking in heavy accents, lot of action, lot of confusion, who is on which side, ultimately it all clears up thankfully, for us, in the end. The plot takes a long time to develop which is normal i guess with spy movies. As is usual with the spy movies, suspense at the end of it. Jennifer tries to stay sane in the movie while Edgerton is perpetually confused. Every Russian is a suspect, and every American is a patriot, that is hollywood theme for you. Jennifer Lawrence has done a good role, Edgerton is OK.

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