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**Talk by Lady Meyer**

Survivors

A riveting historical drama based on an aristocratic family's harrowing escape from the Bolsheviks and their perilous journey to Manchuria... and beyond.

David Bradley will interview Catherine Meyer about Survivors. 

Catherine's late husband, Sir Christopher Meyer, wrote Survivors. However, he died in July 2022, before he had completed it. So, Catherine edited it, reduced it from 650 to 400 pages, and self-published it posthumously.

"Survivors" is loosely based on the extraordinary adventure that was Catherine's grandparents' escape and survival during and after the Bolshevik revolution.

The story begins the day Catherine's mother was born on 7 March 1917, with the toppling of 1,100 years of Imperial rule in the world's largest nation, and it ended in 1945.

Having escaped capture and execution from the Bolsheviks, the family fled across Siberia. They finally reached Manchuria in 1920, only to find themselves caught in the Chinese Civil War and the Japanese invasions, forcing them to flee to Pekin, Shanghai and finally to Vietnam as WWII broke out. 

How did Katya's (Catherine's grandmother) intelligence and ability to charm the powerful help the family survive poverty, ruin and death?  

Monday 3rd June 2024

The Bridge Room (upstairs), The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, London SW11

Arrive 7pm - Drinks at the bar

Talk starts 7.30pm

Optional dinner 8.30pm

£23 Early Bird before 15th May. £33 thereafter.

Bolsheviks ransacked their estate and then murdered their cousins. So, how did they escape? 

Andrey (Catherine's grandfather), Katya, and their two young daughters joined their cousins, living at a nearby country estate, only to find their peasants in near revolt. Bolshevik soldiers then arrived.

The Polkonins had heard the fate of the Tzar and his family. So they armed themselves. With battle-hardened officers amongst them, a fierce gun battle greeted the Bolsheviks, who fled. But Andrey knew they'd return with reinforcements and decided to leave while they could, urging his cousins to follow. They refused, and later, the Bolsheviks returned and murderously ransacked all the estates. As Katya looked back, she saw billowing smoke exactly where their majestic house once stood. 

Within a few days, gypsies tried to rob them. 

Survivors is a story of courage and ingenuity.

It's also a graphic tale of what can happen when the rule of law is absent.

A magnificent historical novel

In this gripping historical novel, Christopher Meyer recreates some of the most turbulent times of the 20th century - the collapse of Tsarist Russia, the Russian Revolution, the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the Chinese Civil War. His grasp of detail is impressive and he brilliantly creates the reality of life in these troubled times. Against this dramatic background, he weaves the compelling story of an extraordinary woman and her two daughters, surviving against all the odds. It is a magnificent achievement. Sadly this will be Christopher's only novel but, thanks to Catherine's determination, it will have a lasting impact.

Survivors Cover.png

Some of what you'll discover...

 

  • What happens to a society suffering in the complete absence of law and order?

 

  • ​When Andrei returns to the Russian front in 1917, his sergeant, with whom he's shared many campaigns, deserts. Desertion under the military code is punishable by death. So, what does Andrei do? What would you do?  

  • What it's like being an aristocrat during a proletarian revolution.

  • ​The experience as an aristocrat of being under siege in your Russian estate, surrounded by the murderous "Reds".

  • ​Sir Christopher used his own experience as a diplomat in the Soviet Union to weave into the story that, to survive, Katya was a double agent for the Chinese and Japanese.​

  • ​​The techniques Catherine used to edit down Christopher's 650-page manuscript by removing 87,000 words. 

Written by the late Sir Christopher Meyer - and completed by Catherine.

Christopher Meyer.png

Sir Christopher Meyer was the longest-serving British Ambassador to the US since 1945. However, his time as a diplomat in Moscow in the 1960s and 1980s allowed him to fuse insights about the Russian psyche and its history into Survivors. 
Hours of conversations with Catherine's mother and her papers and diaries gave Christopher priceless material to write this page-turning, unputdownable book.
While working on the manuscript, Christopher died on 27th July 2022 in Megeve.
A published author, Catherine, completed the book, reducing 650 pages to 400.
Sir Christopher's other books are DC Confidential, Getting Our Way, and Only Child.

 Great page turner!

This was a fantastic read! Excellent characterisations; great attention to detail and very easy to read. I felt transported back in time and have a much better sense of what it would have been like living through the Russian Revolution and its aftermath. Highly Recommended."

Fabulously written - a real page turner!

“This book, by the formidable diplomat Sir Christopher Meyer (affectionately known as ‘Sir Socks’ on account of his penchant for red ones) is a brilliant tale which weaves the facts of his mother-in-law’s remarkable escape as a child at the outbreak of the Russian Revolution only to fall into the nightmare turmoil of the Chinese civil war and the outbreak of WW2. A pacy tale which carries the reader along with the excitement, the terror, the pathos, all heightened by the knowledge that, although ‘embroidered’, the story is fundamentally true. Throughly recommended.”

About Lady Meyer

Catherine Meyer Red Coat.png

Catherine, The Baroness Meyer of Nine Elms, CBE, is a Conservative Working Peer, businesswoman, and author.

She is the widow of Sir Christopher Meyer, the British former Ambassador to the United States and Germany and a diplomat posted to the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1980s.

In 1999, she founded the charity PACT, now Action Against Abduction. In 2018, Prime Minister Teresa May appointed Catherine to the House of Lords, and in 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson appointed her as the UK's (first) Trade Envoy to Ukraine.

She met Christopher, the newly appointed British Ambassador to Germany, in 1997.   She hoped he could help her retrieve her two sons, who had been illegally retained by her German ex-husband following their summer holidays in 1994. 

"I can't get your children back. But will you marry me?" he asked. 

She accepted.

They jetted off to Washington, where Christopher had just been appointed the UK's Ambassador to the United States. Catherine got to know Clinton and Bush, who both lobbied the German Chancellor to retrieve her sons—but to no avail.

Catherine has written Two Children Behind a Wall, and These Are My Children, Too.

Monday 3rd June 2024

The Bridge Room (upstairs), The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, London SW11

Arrive 7pm - Drinks at the bar

Talk starts 7.30pm

Optional dinner 8.30pm

£23 Early Bird before 15th May. £33 thereafter.

Location

The Bridge Room (upstairs), The Prince Albert, 85 Albert Bridge Road, London SW11 4PF

From Chelsea, cross Abert Bridge, and the Prince Albert is on the right opposite the North West entrance to Battersea Park.

Cancellation
If, for whatever reason, we must cancel the talk or you (with at least five days' notice) can't make it, you will receive a complimentary ticket to another Revellers' Club talk. If there isn't a talk that you wish or can attend, you'll receive a refund.

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