The People's Act of Love

By James Meek


1919, Siberia...Deep in the unforgiving landscape a town lies under military rule, awaiting the remorseless assault of Bolsheviks along the Trans-Siberian railway. One night a stranger, Samarin, appears from the woods with a tale of escape from an Arctic prison, insisting a cannibal is on his trail. Only Anna, a beautiful young widow, trusts his story. When a local shaman is found dead suspicion and terror engulf the isolated community, which harbours a secret of its own...

Year of Publication


Meek is a master of the “moral thriller”, novels which combine pacy plotting with thorny questions. In The People’s Act Of Love, set in Siberia after the Russian Revolution he pits utopian fanatics against pragmatic hypocrites in wondering about who should forge the future and how much one can sacrifice before it turns into masochism. Is love a performance (acting) or a decision (an act)? -- Stuart Kelly