Abbot Spiridion establishes a monastery in 1690 with virtuous, intelligent monks who soon degenerate into a cruel, mindless community. Withdrawn into his cell he writes the ‘truth’ about Catholic doctrine and the closed world of monasteries, then dies and has the manuscript buried with him. For a hundred years his spirit seeks an intelligent monk bold enough to retrieve it from his coffin guarded by Dantesque spirits. Enter Angel, a sixteen-year-old novice ostracized by his superiors and terrified by Spiridion's ghostly visits.More info →
It's mid-twentieth century when two New Caledonian men contract leprosy and reflect on what they call their 'life sentence', but when a cure is discovered they realise it wasn't the end of life after all.
And in today's New Caledonia, an indigenous woman tolerates her alcoholic husband until his behaviour affects their child. She considers leaving but a charity, the Blue Cross, offers to help him.More info →
'Winter Tales' is a nest of stories about a wealthy Russian landowner and his former serfs after the abolition of serfdom. He relates the difficulties for them in living life once they are free, having always been dependent and downtrodden. De Vogüé had worked for five years as a French diplomat in St Petersburg. He later wrote 'Le Roman russe' (The Russian Novel) which introduced French and consequently English readers to great Russian literature by Gogol, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and Turgenev. This is the first English translation of 'Winter Tales' in 123 years.More info →