"Locked in a cabin aboard a ship bearing him back to Russia, Lev Sergeyvich Termen begins to type his story: a tale of love, electricity, and the invention of the world's strangest musical instrument, the theremin. He recollects his early years as a scientist, forging breakthroughs in Saint Petersburg, and the pivotal decade he lived as a Manhattan celebrity and reluctant Soviet spy. Against a backdrop of Prohibition and the 1929 Crash, Lev spends his days in a workshop, building mechanical marvels, and his nights in Harlem clubs, jostling with famous bandleaders and falling head over heels for Clara, a beautiful young violinist. But when Lev's ship finally reaches his homeland, he finds this is not the Russia he remembers. Anchorless and lonely, torn away from his inventions, Lev is swallowed into Stalin's Gulag system-confronting vicious thugs, Siberian winter, and the machinations of a secret military laboratory. Amid horrors and peril, Lev's feelings for Clara are a thin constant, passing through the ether like the theremin's song. Although based on the true events of Lev Termen's life, Us Conductors is mostly a magical invention. Full of ingenuity, wonder, and looping heartbreak, this sublime debut explores the lies we tell, the truths we imagine, and the lengths we go to survive. "