A family of Russian colonists settle and develop new extremities of Russia. Their journey spans over two hundred years and takes them southward, close to the Black Sea.
Eventually they cross the vast land and resettle in the untamed Russian Far East. Their involvement with the Far Eastern Railroad and the goldfields leads them to a new Russian City, Harbin, along the Sungari River in the Manchurian Hills of China.
By 1920, like Shangri-La, Harbin provides sanctuary for countless refugees seeking freedom from the clutches of the Soviet regime who has taken over their homeland. Their reprieve is disturbed by a new invader from the Empire of the Rising Sun - Japan.
Just as the aggressors are rebuked, the evil claw again extends from beyond their homeland wooing them to return. Some of the remaining descendants flee once more, this time across the ocean to Australia.
They were men and women with wills of steel, tempered by their long journey. This strength helped them to adapt and succeed in the Land Down Under.
Alex Vassilieff vividly recounts the extraordinary journey of his ancestors. He not only provides a compelling account of survival against the odds, he also gives a personal insight into what it is like to be born a Russian, with all the complexities that entails.