In some ways the main character of this story – Viktor – reminds you of James Bond in the sense that he swims with some pretty nasty sharks but continues to come out the other side with luck on his side.
The satire comes thick and fast as Viktor plays his role in the run-up to the election. In the end a bigger player comes in and puts pressure on Viktor’s protector to pull out of the race much in the same way it seems to happen every day in Russian politics.
There is a real sense that everyone is stepping on each other’s faces and climbing on their backs to get power but once they have it then it is ripped from their grasp as accidents and odd scandals overcome them.
Back to the story Viktor has tracked his penguin down to Chechnya and he ends up going after him into the war zone. Even here there is dark comedy as a gas pipeline is siphoned off to be used as an illegal but busy crematorium.