…which, by the way, is a fantastic premise for a thriller, right? Somebody write that, please. Anyway, the quote that caught my eye was this (C is addressing Russians criticizing the British exploitation of Hong Kong):
“Yes, the English exploit the Chinese, the Sepoys, and the Hindus, but they do give them roads, aqueducts, museums, and Christianity; you exploit them too, but what do you give them?”
I really like the idea of Chekhov as a John Buchan-style pro-British action hero, spreading disaffection with the Tsar’s rule in Central Asia… except that he would be acting against his own patria, and how can that be squared with the square dealing that that kind of hero requires? Sigh. Perhaps this is not a plot premise with promise, after all.