TO BORIS NEMTSOV
I wish I had his courage
Leningrad, Russia, 1968. Alexander Karpenko is no ordinary child, and from an early age, it is clear he is destined to lead his countrymen. But when his father is assassinated by the KGB for defying the state, he and his mother will have to escape from Russia if they hope to survive. At the docks, they are confronted with an irreversible choice: should they board a container ship bound for America, or Great Britain? Alexander leaves that choice to the toss of a coin . . .
In a single moment, a double twist decides Alexander’s future. During an epic tale of fate and fortune, spanning two continents and thirty years, we follow his triumphs and defeats as he struggles as an immigrant to conquer his new world. As this unique story unfolds, Alexander comes to realize where his destiny lies, and accepts that he must face the past he left behind in Russia.
“What are you going to do when you leave school?” asked Alexander.
“I’m hoping to join the KGB,” Vladimir replied, “but they won’t even consider me if I don’t get a place at the state university. How about you?”
“I intend to be the first democratically elected president of Russia,” said Alexander, laughing.
“And if you make it,” said Vladimir, who didn’t laugh, “you can appoint me as head of the KGB.”
“I don’t approve of nepotism,” said Alexander, as they strolled across the schoolyard and out onto the street.