To be honest, I don't remember learning much about Russian history in high school. How about you?
*Maid of Baikal* by Preston Fleming is a historical fiction based on the Russian civil war. It follows a young American captain, Ned du Pont, on his journey through Russia from 1918 to 1919. He is there under the cover of getting communications established for the Whites; all the while, he is gaining intelligence for the Allies. Along his travels he meets a maiden named Zhanna. Zhanna is not just any maiden. She hears Voices from God, and these Voices instruct her to help with the civil war. The story goes on to describe Ned's and Zhanna's trials and tribulations in fighting against the Bolsheviks.
Preston Fleming put his heart and soul into this work, and the reader can tell. He uses beautiful prose to describe the landscape of Russia. It almost feels like you could be there. The dialogue is engaging. If you enjoy many tactical discussions and theories, this is the story for you. The characters discuss strategy and military movements throughout the book. Since the story is a historical fiction, he includes a list of all the character (both real and fictional) to help the reader. He also includes maps of Russia and a list of musical themes to be listened to while reading.
While *Maid of Baikal* is very well written, I did not enjoy the book. The story was too slow building the plot, and discussions of military strategies became tedious. In addition, there wasn't a lot of character development. I just could not get excited about any of the characters.
It was good. Just not my type of book.