Chapter 1 Summary
Helen Dunmore's The Betrayal takes place in post-World War II Leningrad and is the sequel to her novel The Siege, which follows Andrei and Anna Mikhailovich through their horrendous experiences in Leningrad's 900-day siege.
In Chapter 1 of The Betrayal, Dunmore introduces Dr. Andrei Mikhailovich, who is once again one of her main characters. Andrei is a renowned diagnostician, especially in regards to pediatric medicine, and as the chapter opens, he observes his colleague's nervousness. Andrei immediately begins to analyze what could be the cause of Dr. Russov's profuse sweating. As Russov approaches Andrei, he senses his fear and realizes that Russov is not physically ill, but rather that he is extremely anxious about something. Before Andrei has time to determine the cause of his colleague's anxiety, Russov asks him to accompany him outside for a breath of fresh air. When the men reach the courtyard and are away from prying ears, Russov proceeds to tell Andrei about a ten-year-old patient who was admitted the previous night. At first, Russov tries to pretend that he is asking for Andrei's advice because he respects Andrei's opinion, but Andrei is not to be swayed by his colleague's pandering. Many times in the past, Russov had criticized Andrei's methods and reprimanded him for spending too much time with his patients. Andrei knows that his fellow doctor is complimenting him only because he needs something. Russov finally admits that it is not necessarily the patient's health issues that have him most concerned: it is the patient's last name. He is the only child of Volkov, a feared leader in the Soviet Union's Ministry of Security. Volkov's name alone strikes fear in those who hear it, and Andrei recognizes that Russov is trying to pass on the case to him. Hence, if anything goes wrong, Volkov's revenge will be directed toward Andrei. When Russov realizes that Andrei is not succumbing to his flattery, he then...
(The entire section is 642 words.)