Aleksandr made a silent promise to the Lord. God would deliver him -- would deliver Russia -- and he would make Russia into the country that the Almighty wanted it to be. He would be delivered from the destruction that wasteth at noonday, and from the pestilence that walketh in darkness -- the terror by night. 1825, Europe -- and Russia -- have been at peace for a decade. Bonaparte is long dead and the threat of invasion is no more. For Colonel Aleksei Ivanovich Danilov, life is peaceful. The French have been defeated, as have the twelve monstrous creatures he once fought alongside, and then against, all those years before. His duty is still to his tsar, Aleksandr the First, but today the enemy is merely human. But the tsar himself knows he can never be at peace. He is well aware of the uprising fermenting within his own army, but his true fear is of something far more terrible -- something that threatens to bring damnation down upon him, his family and his country. Aleksandr cannot forget a promise: a promise sealed in blood . . . and broken a hundred years before. Now the victim of the Romanovs' betrayal has returned to demand what is his. The knowledge chills Aleksandr's very soul. And for Aleksei, it seems the vile pestilence that once threatened all he held dear has returned, thirteen years later.
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