A historical novel

White colonialists in Shanghai see themselves as an impregnable supreme race. But then Russians come and ruin the perfect world Europeans and Americans built for themselves in China.

Fleeing the Bolsheviks, Russian refugees arrive in thousands, noblemen and common laborers alike, ready to take any job and get their hands dirty. They don’t care if it made other white people look not so exceptional in front of the locals.



Please review White Ghosts

The year is 1922.

Klim Rogov, a Russian journalist famous for his wit, used to be a rich man who won the heart of a brilliant, passionate young business woman, Nina Kupina. Now, they find themselves in a rusty refugee ship anchoring in Shanghai harbor without money, documents, and any prospect in the near future, but Klim believes that he and Nina can cope with any challenge as long as they are together.

One night, Nina disappears from the ship amidst strange circumstances.

Once in the city, Klim is rejected by both the whites and the Chinese, and his only dubious ally is a difficult teenage dancer who decides to seduce him for sport. Klim knows that the “fallen gods” should keep a low profile, but he is obsessed with winning his life back and finding out what happened to Nina.

When Klim discovers her dark secret, he begins to doubt if he can handle it. And to make things worse, the Chinese nationalists gather an army and launch an attack on defenseless Shanghai.


Shivering in her worn-out black coat and astrakhan hat, Nina Kupina paced the rusty low deck of the refugee steamer, cramming English verbs into her head:

“Come, came, come; see, saw, seen; win, won, won.”

For several weeks now, two thousand Russian souls had been killing time in the Shanghai harbor, trapped on their ships bearing the faded banners of a state that no longer existed—the Russian Empire. But the Shanghai authorities still had no idea what to do with them. The representatives of the Chinese part of the city, the French concession, and the International Settlement had expressed sympathy for the refugees who had fled the Bolsheviks after the brutal civil war in Russia, but no one wanted these homeless and penniless foreigners on their territory or on their hands.

Just to be on the safe side, they had sent a Chinese battleship to keep the refugees in their sights. It was a sensible precaution.

In the depths of their despair, the Russians might easily launch an attack on peaceful Shanghai. Their holds were brimming with arms: they had enough to start a small war.



Book 1

A novel about the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917

Book 2

A novel about Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s

Book 3

A novel about foreign journalists in the USSR


Text by Elvira Baryakina

Translation by Simon Geoghegan and Elvira Baryakina

Book cover design by Alex Mintz

Website design by Taras Karpyak