When Camilla finds a house to rent in Tuscany, and Davey invites Igor and Rachel to share it, their lives will change forever. Especially when Igor redefects to Moscow. Rachel will never recover from his betrayal, and Davey has reasons he cannot admit for taking it hard.
Igor moves to Samarkand and opens a bar. The Café Maracanda attracts a wide range of clients. Tourists enjoy the charms of Tamerlane’s one-time capital, drug lords negotiate the price of heroin, Igor’s old KGB cronies drop in to chat.
But then who should walk in but Camilla. And Rachel isn’t far behind. One is determined to find out the truth, the other is set on revenge, and Igor begins to understand that his time is running out.
Café Maracanda is the final part of a trilogy of Soviet-era thrillers. Like The Angels of Russia and Music at the Garden House, it examines the toll taken on the individual by life in an unfree society.
What or who can you trust in a world where trust is a negotiable commodity? The book bristles with convincing insight into the mental damage inflicted by totalitarian regimes. It can be enjoyed on many levels, not least the cooking, the great food and wine, operas, music, all the little pleasures that make life worthwhile, even as you brace yourself for the inevitable shocks. Highly recommended. (Martin Boylan, author of The Jealous God and Councillor O’Toole.)
See also The Golden Road to Samarkand under Timeline on this site.