In 1931, a young American named Victor Herman accompanied his parents to the Soviet Union, where his father was to set up a Ford Motor Company plant. In 1938, he was inexplicably thrown into a Soviet prison. It was forty-five years before he was able to return to America.
His was a common nightmare during the Stalin years. Those who survived imprisonment and torture were either sent north to hard labor in the icy forests and mines or into exile. Victor Herman was one of the few who survived. During his life in and out of Russian prisons, he fell in love with a Russian gymnast, who followed him into exile. She lived with him and their child for a year in Siberia in a cave chopped out of ice. Theirs was a romance destined to thrive even under desperate conditions.