Reviewed by: Kimball, age 15
Setting: Present day/ancient Russia
Introduction:Ivan is a non-practicing Jewish boy in communist Russia. His family wants to go to America, so they pretend to be practicing Jews to get passports there. Before they leave, they stop at the home of their cousin Marek and live there until they can go to America. Ivan finds a mysterious part of the forest where there is a circular clearing of leaves, covering thin air and a sleeping princess on a pedestal, with some guardian rustling beneath them. Ivan flees, and the memory does not go away.
Now an adult in America, as well as a professional athlete, Ivan has a good life; he is engaged to a Jewish girl named Ruth, has a career in running and also archaeology. Ivan decides to go to Russia to write a comprehensive book on Russian legends, leaving his family behind until he can publish his book. While researching, he again finds the woods near his cousin Marek's home and the place from his childhood. Suddenly, Ivan finds himself fighting a giant bear, betrothed to a princess he doesn't want to marry, stranded in a land he knows next to nothing about with not even his clothes, and forced to prepare to battle a witch whom he has only heard of in legends.
Themes: bravery is more than not running away, know the meaning of true love, marriage is sacred
Recommended Age: 15 and up
There are a lot of sex references and some nudity, as well as a sex scene (that describes the sensations rather than the actions, it's not completely graphic) and a near sex scene. There is also language.