When an ex-CIA agent convinces a bumbling law student to write a term paper on international rights on the high seas, the student and his roommates in Washington wind up with the whole Soviet Embassy (and some other strange characters) coming to dinner. This actually happened on August 10, 1963, and has never been marked in the history books. Out of this encounter spins a story of revenge, counterpoint, and rollicking foolishness, ending on a railroad platform by the Russian-Finnish border 30 years later. The story follows its sort-of-ordinary people in a not-so-ordinary web through the edges of history (the set for “I have a dream!”, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the last gasp failed Soviet coup of August, 1991, and the chaos of Yeltsin’s drunken Russia), accompanied by an attempt to bring Western advertising to the East led by the now ex-law student and a hot, advertising sharpie ex-model, a brash BBC crew filming a detective story in St. Petersburg, and three sort-of stolen trains that turn up at that Finnish border. On the Russian side are the continuities of an attache from the original Embassy Party, his ruminative and bad-joke-filled Uncle Fyodor, and a son trying to cut out a piece of Soviet decay. Everything collides, at least in a world that was, then, rather ordinary.
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