This book was better than #4 and #5, and I think I know why. A lot of this book is dedicated to the interpersonal relationships of the characters of the book (namely Yuri, Talia and Andrei). Despite the lead up to the February Revolution (Tsar Nicholas' abdication), this book focuss a small amount of time on the Bolsheviks. This should really bother me as a Russian history enthusiast. However, if we are to treat this as fiction, the writing actually improved because of the shift in attention. This is not to say that she didn't commit the same flaws as in the previous works for she did, but she does better at writing the character relationships outside of history than from within history. I still have to shake my head at her grasp of Russian history, especially in this book's mentioning of Stalin. It is forced as with all the dealings with actual historical events. She does better when she is not dealing with "real time" historical events in this book. The flaws in diction (kopeks not pennies; this isn't America) calendar errors (slippery slope there) and other things make a Russian history fan cringe. However, the focus on Yuri, his brother and Talia pull you through to the end. Really, I still maintain that books 1-3 are the better ones of this series.