The story of a man who rose from peasant stock to become Estonia's most famous medieval chronicler - The third novel in a historical trilogy by Estonia's most famous writer
The third part in an epic historical trilogy - The Estonian answer to Wolf Hall - by the nation's greatest modern writer
1578. A ship from Rostock arrives in Tallinn loaded with printed copies of Balthasar Russow's Chronicle - the culmination of our hero's life's work. But though it is an instant success, as it was in Rostock and numerous German cities, not everyone is happy to see it published. A group of local gentry denounce it to the town council as "a book of heinous falsehoods", and lobby for Balthasar to relieved as pastor of Holy Ghost Church.
But all is not lost. Balthasar may call on a powerful ally - if he is willing to pay the price.
In this final volume, fierce storms, along with famine, war and plague, continue to be loosed upon Livonia. Balthasar's personal life, too, is fraught with turbulence and loss, much of it stemming from his own jealousy and suspicion.
He's a marvellous novelist - his scope and depth make him a world writer - and they should just hurry up and give him the Nobel.
He deserved a Nobel prize and would probably have got it had he written in any other language but Estonian. - Guardian.
He's almost alone in writing in the older European tradition of the large-scale historical novel. I'd argue that Kross is heir to the 'great' Russo-European 19th century novelists; his fiction has Tolstoyan sweep. On reading him, moreover, we rediscover that Estonia was always resolutely in Europe and not some obscure outpost this side of the Urals.
No stranger to oppression himself, Kross writes about it with a poignancy devoid of anger.
Jaan Kross is Estonia's best-known and most widely translated author. He was born in Tallinn in 1920 and lived much of his life under either Soviet or German occupation. He won countless awards for his writing, including The National Cultural Award, The Amnesty International Golden Flame and the Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger. He died in 2007.