Vodolazkin's historical novel is set in 15th century Russia. "It is a time of plague and pestilence, and a young healer, skilled in the arts of herbs and remedies, finds himself overcome with grief and guilt when he fails to save the one he holds closest to his heart. Leaving behind his village, his possessions and his name, he sets out on a quest for redemption, penniless and alone." from the front inside-flap
This novel, like Tikhon's Everyday Saints, vividly portraits life in Holy Russia. Arseny is a fictional character, but the events of his life, his very person, were the spiritual everyday reality in medieval Rus. I just began to read Laurus and I am hooked.
This work is getting great reviews. It is already a best seller in Russia, having won some prestigious awards. Ken Kalfus, writing for The New Yorker, comments;