It is the late fifteenth century in rural Russia, a time of plague and pestilence. A young orphan lives by the forest with his elderly grandfather, the local healer. From him he learns the secrets of herbs and remedies, and soon follows in the old man's footsteps. But this knowledge proves powerless to save his beloved, who dies in childbirth. Overcome with guilt and seeking redemption, he embarks on a journey through plague-ridden Europe, offering his healing powers wherever he goes. But this is no ordinary journey: it is one that spans ages and countries, and brings him face-to-face with a host of unforgettable characters and legendary creatures from the strangest medieval bestiaries. Now old, and having addressed his wrongs, he returns to his home village to live out his days as a hermit – not realizing that it is here that he will face his most difficult trial yet.
Winner of two of the biggest literary prizes in Russia, Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of the country's most exciting and critically acclaimed novelists. [Amazon.co.uk]