The Panther Skin
by Benedict Brooks
A twist on history novel.
A brief outline
of the plot.
An incident from childhood inspires an ageing Joseph Stalin to revisit his past and radically transform his persona.
As a boy, Joseph Stalin was inspired by romantic images of brave knights, strong princesses, and magical creatures defeated to save loved ones.
As an ageing dictator, confined by the bleakness of his own totalitarianism, he yearns for a return to the glories of Russia’s golden age. He much admires the heroic tales from the poem: Knight in Panther Skin, and he believes he can turn its images of chivalric romance into reality.
Undeterred by failing health, his idealism stirs a secret passion and plans are made to turn Russia back into a tsarist state.
Beria, Stalin's head of secret police, is concerned about his leader's growing physical and mental infirmity. He is wary of Stalin's recent secretive behaviour and decides to pit his own talent for subterfuge against the Vozhd.
As Stalin descends the royal staircase and makes his way to a secret chamber, Beria has one last chance to try and outwit this most unpredictable of leaders.