Michael Strogoff: The Courier of the Czar (French: Michel Strogoff) is a novel written by Jules Verne in 1876. Critics, including Leonard S. Davidow, writing from Reading, Pennsylvania, in his 1937 introduction to The Spencer Press reprint as a volume in its "Classic Romances of Literature" series consider it one of Verne's best books. Davidow wrote, "Jules Verne has written no better book than this, in fact it is deservedly ranked as one of the most thrilling tales ever written." Unlike some of Verne's other famous novels, it is not science fiction, but a scientific phenomenon (Leidenfrost effect) is a plot device. Michael Strogoff, a 30-year-old native of Omsk, is a courier for Tsar Alexander II of Russia. The Tartar Khan (prince), Feofar Khan, incites a rebellion and separates the Russian Far East from the mainland, severing telegraph lines. Rebels encircle Irkutsk, where the local governor, a brother of the Tsar, is making a last stand. Strogoff is sent to Irkutsk to warn the governor about the traitor Ivan Ogareff, a former colonel, who was once demoted and exiled and now seeks revenge against the imperial family. He intends to destroy Irkutsk by setting fire to the huge oil storage tanks on the banks of the Angara River. On his way to Irkutsk, Strogoff meets Nadia Fedor, daughter of an exiled political prisoner, Basil Fedor, who has been granted permission to join her father at his exile in Irkutsk, the English war correspondent Harry Blount of the Daily Telegraph and Alcide Jolivet, a Frenchman reporting for his 'cousin Madeleine'. Blount and Jolivet tend to follow the same route as Michael, separating and meeting again all the way through Siberia. He is supposed to travel under a false identity, but he is discovered by the Tartars when he meets his mother in their home city of Omsk.