Jan Shapin

Novels and Plays

RED YEAR, a new novel set in China and Moscow, 1927

CAN A RED-HAIRED WOMAN FROM CHICAGO SINGLE-HANDEDLY FORCE JOSEPH STALIN TO BACK DOWN?


China, 1927. Thirty-three-year-old Rayna Prohme, accompanying her left-wing journalist husband, becomes the political confidant and lover of Mikhail Borodin, the Russian commander sent to prop up a failing Chinese revolution. In a bid to continue their love affair, Rayna hatches a plan to accompany Mme. Sun, the widow of the Chinese revolution’s founder, to Moscow.


But Moscow doesn’t welcome the women. Borodin shuns them. Rayna’s stipend and her housing arrangements are cancelled. “Go home,” she is told. But Rayna does not want to go home to an ordinary life, to her husband and Chicago. Instead she applies to a Soviet espionage school that soon demands she spy on Mme. Sun. The Chinese widow is, by now, in grave danger as her exit visa is blocked. Rayna must make a choice—Borodin and Russia or Mme. Sun and China.