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C.P. Lesley (Five Directions)
Nasan, a young Tatar princess, is used as diplomatic fodder, to patch up a feud between two families – her own and that of a powerful Moscow boyar. But the arranged marriage (to a cousin of her brother’s cold-blooded murderer, actually) not surprisingly turns out to be loveless. The spirited Nasan takes to slipping out at night, roaming the streets of Moscow to do good deeds dressed as a young boy in order to assuage her guilt over her brother’s death. In the process, she creates the heroic persona of the Golden Lynx.
Soon, however, Nasan is swept up in treacherous events. She alone stands able to stop a treasonous plot and save the young Tsar Ivan (who of course she cannot know will grow up to be Ivan the Terrible).
Swiftly paced, with compelling characters and vivid scenes evoking distant Muscovy, The Golden Lynx is a find for lovers of historical fiction, particularly one set in Russia. It is also unique in exploring the contrasts and tensions between sixteenth century Tatar and Russian cultures.
Reviewed in Russian Life: Jan/Feb 2014