The focus shifts from the senator to his son and most of the assumptions you are encouraged to make in the first chapter are quickly proved wrong with the story being guided in a different direction.
The role that Petersburg plays is an interesting one with the city acting as a simply backdrop as well as a more complex stirrer of moods and catalyst for action. Bear in mind this tale is set in 1905 a period of widespread political unrest in Russia and you sense in the descriptions of the factories and the suburbs that the power in the capital is moving away from the palaces and large homes.
Bullet points between pages 37 – 122
* The reason for the nighttime prowls and the repeated trip to the bridge is because of Nikolai’s failed affair with a woman who outshines the solider she is married to and his thoughts at one stage of committing suicide by jumping off the bridge
* As the relationship between Nikolia and Sofia Likhutina broke down he called her a doll and she labeled him a red buffoon, a criticism he takes very much to heart and starts going out wearing a mask to hide his face and a red domino costume, which becomes notorious in the press
* The stranger with the bundle, which you assume is a bomb, turns up to see Nikolai who has made some sort of promise when he was heartbroken and is now tied in with people he would rather not deal with
* His father returns and sees the stranger who has boasted of being part of the party and worries about what his son is getting involved with and then suffers some disturbing dreams about people knocking loudly on the door at night
* Nikolai spots Sofia on a bridge and dons his red domino costume and runs up to her but then ends up falling over and being chased by the police and she again calls him a buffoon and storms back home and tells all to her husband
* The husband happens to have grown up as a playmate of Nikolai and the report of his friend’s designs on his wife angers him in a way his wife has never seen and he tell her not to go to a ball where he knows Nikolai is going to also be in attendance
* She laughs off his threats of banishing her from the house and goes to the ball and hands Nikolia a note in which he is told to use the bomb in his draw (the mysterious bundle) and although it doesn’t spell it out presumably he is being asked to murder his father
* Nikolai runs from the party with his mask up so everyone knows who he is and he has become a laughing stock, even in front of his father who also went to the ball, but when Sofia gets home she finds her self locked out
Will Nikolai use the bomb? As his mother reappears what will that mean? What will become of Sofia? Some answers will no doubt come tomorrow…