Lara took the broken pendant out of the small black velvet bag. Half a golden heart, set with small diamonds and rubies. It could still fetch quite a few thousand rands.
No matter how challenged her finances became, she could not part with this precious jewel, her only link with tsarist Russia, the homeland of her mother’s ancestors. Russia was open to the west after many years of being closed to tourists by an iron curtain and suspicion of anything Western.
One associated Russia with the KGB, spies, despotic tsars and Communists – and films such as Doctor Zhivago. Lara was drawn to this ancient land with its history of tyranny and misfortune. Now she was going on a Russian boat tour from Moscow to St Petersburg.