'The black earth was already baking and the sun was just rising when they mounted their horses and rode across the grasslands towards the horizon on fire …’
Imprisoned in the Gulags for a crime he did not commit, Benya Golden joins a penal battalion made up of Cossacks and convicts to fight the Nazis.
He enrols in the Russian cavalry, and on a hot summer day in July 1942, he and his band of brothers are sent on a desperate mission behind enemy lines.
Switching between Benya's war in the grasslands of Southern Russia, and Stalin's plans in the Kremlin, between Benya's intense affair with an Italian nurse and a romance between Stalin's daughter and a journalist also on the Eastern Front, this is a sweeping story of passion, bravery and human survival where personal betrayal is a constant companion, and death just a heartbeat away.
'A master storyteller – his fiction is compelling' GQ
'A natural storyteller who brings his encycolopedic knowledge of Russian history to life in language that glittlers like the ice of St Petersburg.' Washington Post
If your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal?
Moscow 1945. As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead.
But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia’s most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow.
Is it murder? A suicide pact? Or a conspiracy against the state?
Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins as children are arrested and forced to testify against their friends - and their parents. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.
Winter, 1916. In St Petersburg, snow is falling in a country on the brink of revolution. Beautiful and headstrong, Sashenka Zeitlin is just sixteen. As her mother parties with Rasputin and her dissolute friends, Sashenka slips into the frozen night to play her role in a dangerous game of conspiracy and seduction.
Twenty years on, Sashenka has a powerful husband and two children. Around her people are disappearing but her own family is safe.But she's about to embark on a forbidden love affair which will have devastating consequences.
Sashenka's story lies hidden for half a century, until a young historian goes deep into Stalin's private archives and uncovers a heart-breaking story of passion and betrayal, savage cruelty and unexpected heroism - and one woman forced to make an unbearable choice ...
Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the acclaimed novels of his Moscow Trilogy – Sashenka, Red Sky at Noon and One Night in Winter, which won the Paddy Power Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize: the novels are published in 27 languages. Montefiore is also the author of prize-winning bestselling history books now in 48 languages, including Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, Jerusalem: The Biography and The Romanovs.
For more information see: www.simonsebagmontefiore.com or follow him on Twitter: @simonmontefiore.