Olenin was a youth who had never completed his university course, never served anywhere (having only a nominal post in some government office or other), who had squandered half his fortune and had reached the age of twenty-four without having done anything or even chosen a career. He was what in Moscow society is termed un jeune homme. But he did find a career -- he took a post as a Cadet in the army, and ended up assigned to Transcaucasia. This is the place -- here among the Tatars, the Chechens, and the Old Believers -- this is the place where Olenin will find love in the arms of a beautiful Cossack girl -- a young woman who is promised to a Cossack warrior. Both Ivan Turgenev and the Nobel prize-winning Russian writer Ivan Bunin gave the work great praise, Turgenev calling it his favorite work by Tolstoy.