The Wheel of Justice is based on three related incidents in Moscow that did not happen--at least not in 1992, the year in which the book is set. But anyone familiar with Moscow then (or now) will recognize the possibilities. Indeed, an incident very similar to one of them has in fact happened since the book was published.
The first event is an anticorruption campaign orchestrated by the government. The Russian government has started in this direction more than once, but has not yet been able to break free of the old ways.
The second is the holding of hearings on anticorruption legislation by a subcommittee of the Russian legislature. Committees of the Russian legislature and their subcommittees do not hold fact-finding hearings, being content to go on making laws in the pure vacuum of political theory, just as they have always done, free from the taint of reality. But there is always reason to hope for improvement.
The third incident, and the foundation of the book, is the arrest of a Western businessman, Brad Chapman, for alleged theft of state property. The crime he is accused of is undervaluing assets which the Russian government contributed to a joint venture which has put worthless state buildings and equipment to profitable use. No one has been arrested for this yet, but the actual arrest of a Western technician in Russia for spying (using sophisticated satellite mapping equipment to map a city where a new joint-venture telephone system is being built) arose from the same sort of suspicion of foreigners and misunderstanding of everyday business.The Wheel of Justice follows the struggle of the old and new Russias, and of old fears and new ideas, through the attempt of two lawyers--Alex Fall, an American, and Mikhail Slavin, a Russian--to defend Chapman, even as Fall struggles to win the love of a woman legislator, Inna Korneva, who is torn between him and her obligations to her people....Continua