We first met Fitch’s passionate, independent Marina Makarova in her earlier novel, The Revolution of Marina M, which began in 1917 on the eve of the Russian revolution. Fitch’s darker, equally compelling sequel tracks Marina’s perilous journey from 1919 to 1921. She endures grinding labour, the continual threat of arrest or execution, the struggle to survive as a new mother and a nightmarish period of deprivations and violence while working in a desolate orphanage in Petrograd. She succeeds as a poet, joining a group that includes Anna Akhmatova and Maxim Gorky. And, Fitch writes, she “was also a human being who lived the life of her time, a woman who had lost her child, her father, her family.” Marina’s yearning for freedom propels her to risk everything in the dramatic final scenes.