With this book Pratt leaves behind the short story form he’d used for twenty-one interrelated tales and presents a truly epic graphic novel. In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the First World War, Corto Maltese is engaged by the Red Lanterns—a Chinese secret society made up entirely of women—to find an armored train laden with gold that belonged to the last Russian Tsar, Nicholas II. They aren’t the only ones lusting after the treasure. The adventure, which shifts from the hidden courts of Venice to the mysterious alleys of Hong Kong, from Shanghai to Manchuria and Mongolia to Siberia, also attracts regular and irregular armies, as well as revolutionaries and counter-revolutionaries. The sweeping plot allows Pratt to fully investigate the complicated and competing motivations of his cast that includes the return of Rasputin and the introduction of the cold and dangerous Duchess Marina Seminova, the enigmatic warrior/spy named Shanghai-Lil, and historical figures such as the “Mad Baron” Roman Ungern-Sternberg, a Russian general who sees himself as the modern-day Genghis Khan!