the second novel from the highly acclaimed author of Coldwater. this beautiful fable-like story ranges from the rigid routines of the Imperial Dancers in pre-revolutionary Russia to exile in Australia at the outbreak of World War two. Russian-born Galina, who has danced for the tsar and for Diaghilev's famous ballet in Paris, operates a highly disciplined dance school - an outpost of Imperial Russia - in the dusty Adelaide of the 1940s and 1950s. From this humble base she goes on to form what becomes Australia's first professional ballet troupe. traveling the country it attracts a beautiful, talented young man. these two enact the story of the snow queen - the stern, beautiful woman who picks out a boy for herself, piercing his heart with a spike of ice, only to have her own pierced cruelly in return. Full of dark memories and secrets from the past, this is a haunting, jewel-like story that will linger in the mind, and confirms Mardi as one of Australia's most exciting new writers.