As ideological ferment grips Russia, a small group of revolutionaries, led by Pyotr Verkhovensky and inspired by Nikolai Stavrogin, plan to spread destruction and anarchy throughout the country. Morally bankrupt, they are prepared to use whatever means necessary to achieve their goal, including murder and incitement to suicide. But when they are forced to test the limits of their doctrine and kill one of their own to secure the secrecy of their mission, the ragtag group breaks up in mutual recrimination.
Devils is at once a compelling political statement and a study of atheism and its calamitous effect on a country that is teetering on the edge of an abyss. Seen as Dostoevsky’s most powerful indictment of man’s propensity to violence, this darkly humorous work, shot through with grotesque comedy, is presented here in Roger Cockrell’s masterful new translation.