'It was easy to fall into Karabas, as easy as falling down a hole, but it was hard, to put it bluntly, to get out again. Never mind the zeks, even the soldiers were exiled ...' Deep in the desolate steppe, Captain Khabarov waits out his service at a camp where the news arrives in bundles of last year's papers and rations turn up rotting in their trucks. The captain hopes for nothing more from life than a meagre pension and a state-owned flat. Until, one Spring, he decides to plant a field of potatoes to feed his half-starved men ...This blackly comic novel shows the unsettling consequences of thinking for yourself under the Soviet system. Oleg Pavlov's first novel, published when he was only 24, Captain of the Steppe was immediately praised for its chilling but humane and hilarious depiction of the Soviet Empire's last years. The first in a trilogy, this novel already confirms Pavlov as a worthy successor to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.