The Queen of Spades, one of his most popular and chilling short stories, tells of an inveterate card player who develops a dangerous obsession with the secret of an old lady's luck, which he believes will bring him the wealth he craves. The Negro of Peter the Great, a story based on the life Pushkin's own great-grandfather, is a vivid depiction - and criticism - of both French and Russian society, while Dubrovsky is the Byronic tale of a dispossessed young officer. The Captain's Daughter tells of a young man sent to military service - based on the actual events of the rebellion against Catherine II, it demonstrates Pushkin's unparalleled skill at blending fiction and history. Together these four stories display the versatility and innovation that earned Pushkin his reputation as a master of prose and established him as the towering figure in Russian literature.
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