Dust-jacket from the first edition
|Publisher||Secker & Warburg|
|Media type||Print (Hardback)|
|Followed by||The Laughter of Carthage|
The book is written in the first person from the point of view of unreliable narrator Maxim Arturovitch Pyatnitski, whose posthumous notes Moorcock claims to have transcribed.
Pyat, as he is also known, describes in the novel his adventures in Tsarist then Revolutionary Russia. Born on 1 January 1900 in Kiev, Pyat dreams from early on to become a great inventor and engineer.
Making a good impression on his relative, he secures a position at a technical university in St. Petersburg. After having failed to obtain a degree, he returns to Kiev, where he manages to profit from his knowledge of machinery and runs a successful repair enterprise.
Throughout all his wanderings, Pyat will not pass over any opportunity for self-aggrandisement, despite being a genuinely despicable character. The character appears to have been addicted to cocaine and sex. He is also obsessively antisemitic despite multiple hints that his father was Jewish.
- "Moorcock's Miscellany". Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- "Internet Speculative Fiction Database". Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- Brown, Charles N.; William G. Contento. "The Locus Index to Science Fiction (1984-1998)". Retrieved 2007-12-16.
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