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Condemned as a Nihilist: A Story of Escape from Siberia

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PREFACE. My Dear Lads, There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution, and pluck, and great as are the obstacles that nature and the Russian government oppose to an escape from the prisons of Siberia, such evasions have occasionally been successfully carried out, and that under far less advantageous circumstances than those under which the hero PREFACE. My Dear Lads, There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution, and pluck, and great as are the obstacles that nature and the Russian government oppose to an escape from the prisons of Siberia, such evasions have occasionally been successfully carried out, and that under far less advantageous circumstances than those under which the hero of this story undertook the venture. For the account of life in the convict establishments in Siberia I am indebted to the very valuable books by my friend the Rev. Dr. Lansdell, who has made himself thoroughly acquainted with Siberia, traversing the country from end to end and visiting all the principal prisons. He conversed not only with officials, but with many of the prisoners and convicts, and with Russian and foreign residents in the country, and his testimony as to the management of the prisons and the conditions of the convicts is confirmed by other independent writers personally cognisant of the facts, and like him able to converse fluently in the language, and writing from intimate knowledge of the subject. Yours sincerely, G.A. Henty


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PREFACE. My Dear Lads, There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution, and pluck, and great as are the obstacles that nature and the Russian government oppose to an escape from the prisons of Siberia, such evasions have occasionally been successfully carried out, and that under far less advantageous circumstances than those under which the hero PREFACE. My Dear Lads, There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution, and pluck, and great as are the obstacles that nature and the Russian government oppose to an escape from the prisons of Siberia, such evasions have occasionally been successfully carried out, and that under far less advantageous circumstances than those under which the hero of this story undertook the venture. For the account of life in the convict establishments in Siberia I am indebted to the very valuable books by my friend the Rev. Dr. Lansdell, who has made himself thoroughly acquainted with Siberia, traversing the country from end to end and visiting all the principal prisons. He conversed not only with officials, but with many of the prisoners and convicts, and with Russian and foreign residents in the country, and his testimony as to the management of the prisons and the conditions of the convicts is confirmed by other independent writers personally cognisant of the facts, and like him able to converse fluently in the language, and writing from intimate knowledge of the subject. Yours sincerely, G.A. Henty

30 review for Condemned as a Nihilist: A Story of Escape from Siberia

  1. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    I thought this was supposed to be a Ripping Yarn. It's kind of slow, full of multi-paragraph speeches by one character to another on the history and nature of Nihilism (political, not philosophical). Never read Henty before but I was hoping for something better. [Updated Apr 16th] Having decided I'd read enough of this, I went back to it and finished it today. It isn't a ripping yarn, really. More like a travelogue, and rather boring, at that. Every time the hero and his Tartar friend hunt or fis I thought this was supposed to be a Ripping Yarn. It's kind of slow, full of multi-paragraph speeches by one character to another on the history and nature of Nihilism (political, not philosophical). Never read Henty before but I was hoping for something better. [Updated Apr 16th] Having decided I'd read enough of this, I went back to it and finished it today. It isn't a ripping yarn, really. More like a travelogue, and rather boring, at that. Every time the hero and his Tartar friend hunt or fish, we get an inventory of how many of this, how many of that, they catch. Endless summaries of how many miles they've come, what speed they're travelling at, etc. The 'hero', young Godfrey Bullen, an English lad condemned (wrongly) as a Nihilist and packed off to Siberia, is a complete non-entity. He exists simply to embody English pluck and decency, superiority to all the Russians and various indigenous peoples, and endless resourcefulness. In so far as he is 'there' at all, he is an intolerable, complacent prig. And yet, I found the book strangely, hypnotically relaxing to read. The very monotony of the escape, the boring narration, all combined to something, well I suppose, less than the sum of its parts, and the book ended up offering something despite itself.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Marts (Thinker)

    George Alfred Henty, well I really must read some other titles by this fellow. I thoroughly enjoyed this, yes, it's quite descriptive, maybe a bit too descriptive in some parts, but generally Henty actually makes the reader feel like they're with the protagonist Godfrey Bullen escaping from the Siberian prison. You feel like you're actually working in the Kara mines, drifting through the thick fog then being trapped in the storm at sea, or fleeing the Samoyede's... Now anyone condemned to a Siber George Alfred Henty, well I really must read some other titles by this fellow. I thoroughly enjoyed this, yes, it's quite descriptive, maybe a bit too descriptive in some parts, but generally Henty actually makes the reader feel like they're with the protagonist Godfrey Bullen escaping from the Siberian prison. You feel like you're actually working in the Kara mines, drifting through the thick fog then being trapped in the storm at sea, or fleeing the Samoyede's... Now anyone condemned to a Siberian prison is warned of the difficulties that will be encountered if escape is attempted. However, occasionally these escapes have been successful despite the many obstacles and in this tale Godfrey's is just one such successful venture. I'll recommend this book to anyone craving a good old-fashioned adventure...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Alling

    This book was a little different than most of the G.A. Henty books I have read. Most of the other ones are fixated on a particular event and the role that the protagonist takes in that historical event. Although Godfrey was present during the Nihilist uprisings, he doesn't actually play a part, he just gets mixed up in them and sent to Siberia, where of course he escapes. Most of the story deals with the realities of life in Siberia and Godfrey and his companion's eventual escape. I learned a lo This book was a little different than most of the G.A. Henty books I have read. Most of the other ones are fixated on a particular event and the role that the protagonist takes in that historical event. Although Godfrey was present during the Nihilist uprisings, he doesn't actually play a part, he just gets mixed up in them and sent to Siberia, where of course he escapes. Most of the story deals with the realities of life in Siberia and Godfrey and his companion's eventual escape. I learned a lot more about how prisoners were treated in Siberia. Of course, that all depends on how faithful Henty's work is to reality, I don't think he would intentionally mislead his readers, but it would be impossible to know exactly what prison life was like if one had not been there. However, Henty shows an absolute mastery of Siberia's geography (which our hero Godfrey, as usual also masters), but whereas in the other stories, the Englishman is the hero who is assisted by a native or two, Godfrey had to rely heavily on his companion Luka to make their escape across Siberia.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Katja

    4 stars & 4/10 hearts. When I began this book I was frustrated by the hypocrisy of certain characters (I have read the book before several times). There were also some mentions of alcohol & a scene where characters became drunk (almost no detail). But I enjoyed the humour, the survival-ness, and the characters. It’s purely fiction and there is no long historical description besides a little bit on the Nihilists. A Favourite Quote: “There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, 4 stars & 4/10 hearts. When I began this book I was frustrated by the hypocrisy of certain characters (I have read the book before several times). There were also some mentions of alcohol & a scene where characters became drunk (almost no detail). But I enjoyed the humour, the survival-ness, and the characters. It’s purely fiction and there is no long historical description besides a little bit on the Nihilists. A Favourite Quote: “There are few difficulties that cannot be surmounted by patience, resolution, and pluck[.]” A Favourite Humorous Quote: “‘I really do write badly.’ ... “‘I don't think that quite describes it, Godfrey,’ his father said. ‘If anyone asked me about your accomplishments I should say that you knew a good deal of Latin and Greek, that you had a vague idea of English, and that you could read, but unfortunately you were quite unable to write.’”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie Carter

    Fun book - just really enjoyed learning about these parts of history. Author uses a lot of detail and a lot of dialogue, which I wouldn't always enjoy, but found this interesting enough to keep me reading. Fun book - just really enjoyed learning about these parts of history. Author uses a lot of detail and a lot of dialogue, which I wouldn't always enjoy, but found this interesting enough to keep me reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sytze Hiemstra

    Nice read. Most like a road-book. Pretty long conversations at times.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Loligag

  8. 4 out of 5

    Douglasjr

  9. 5 out of 5

    J.D.Rhyder

  10. 5 out of 5

    Abi Olson

  11. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Eddy

  12. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mark

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Carter

  15. 4 out of 5

    craig davidson

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Clinkscales

  17. 5 out of 5

    Belinda

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stuart

  19. 5 out of 5

    Peg Keller

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kj

  21. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Huisjen

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jane

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Everson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  25. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen Amber

  26. 5 out of 5

    Derrick Hann

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erin Reichard

  28. 4 out of 5

    Lori

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joyce I. Josey

  30. 5 out of 5

    William

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