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The Queen of Spades
Pushkin, considered by many to be the greatest Russian poet, seems less sure of himself when writing short stories - he invents a complicated rigmarole of the origin of the rather melodramatic Tales of the Late Ivan Petrovich Belkin. The title story The Queen of Spades is longer and provides a twist on the age old question - how much do you trust your livelihood to an oracle (even if you think that it's infallible). The book also includes the novel-length The Captain's Daughter on the capture of the hero by a rebel (influenced by Scotts's Rob Roy). In this story 'love conquers all', and some might find Pushkin's writing rather over-sentimental, but if you like Jane Austen or Anthony Trollope then you'll get on fine with this. The final story of the book Peter the Great's Blackamoor is unfinished.
The work is smoothly translated by Alan Myers and the introduction and notes by Andrew Kahn provide plenty of information about the historical context of the works (even if he is over-fond of the word 'irony').