The events of the novel begin with the wires to Muscovy Anton Erenstein, a baron of origin, invited as a doctor to the Grand Duke John III. But how did the nobleman’s son become a doctor in the fifteenth century when the “Inquisition of these world pariahs roasted thousands?”
Long before this day, in Rome, during the ceremony of laying the foundation of St. Peter’s Cathedral, the German baron undeservedly demeaned the physician Antonio Fioraventi. Three years later, fate brought a talented doctor to the house of his abuser at the hour when the main person of the narrative, the son of the Baron, could not succeed, although the time had already come, to be born. Obsessed with revenge, the Italian demanded that Baron Ehrenstein swear an oath to associate the fate of the first-born with a healer’s degrading profession. The medical genius of Fioraventi was the last hope of the unhappy husband, and the fear of losing the beautiful wife forced the baron to swear an oath. A few minutes later, Mrs. Erenstein’s son was born, and she, unsuspecting, in gratitude to the doctor gave him the name Anton.
A year later, the parents gave up their child Fioravanti with tears. The arrogant baron of ambition completely abandoned his son – the boy was informed of the death of his father. Mother, on the other hand, devoted her whole life to a sweet exile: for he expressed in all his actions a height of feelings and some kind of chivalrous courage. So, once in Prague schoolchildren were hounded by Jewish dogs. Seeing this, Anton rushed to the huge dogs, knocked them dead with a dagger, and beat the schoolchildren.
In the twenty-fifth year, the young Ehrenstein graduated from the medical course at Padua University, Fioraventi’s vengeance was granted. Anton traveled around Italy, taking anatomy lessons from Leonardo da Vinci. The portrait of our hero remained in the images of the heavenly messengers on the canvases of the artist, which was shocked by the connection on the face of the youth of beauty of the soul with the outside. But in enlightened Italy, Anton saw “bonfires, a dagger and poison at every turn, everywhere indignation, abuse of humanity, the triumph of a stupid mob and lecherous force.”
On the contrary, in the letters of Aristotle Fioraventi, the brother of his tutor, the famous architect who was at the court of the Moscow prince, Russia was described,
a country wild but reborn. Perhaps, Sofia Paleologus indicated to her royal spouse the means to realize the ideas of the outer greatness of the city, while in the head and heart of John III there were plans to unite the Russian lands, and European masters went to the call of Moscow. And the young Ehrenstein, learning about the request of the architect to find a doctor, a hunter in a little-known country, decided to go to Muscovy with passion.
At the entrance to the capital of the Grand Duchy, the doctor presents an ugly pile of small houses in the bristles of a forest and meets an alien confronted by his arrival with the burning of agreed Lithuanians. The inhabitants are wooing the sorcerer, and at first Anton, who came to put a few mites in the treasury of the sciences, had to shoot a tippoon from the prince’s parrot and make a foolish look at the languages of the courtiers.
Moreover, the insidious boyars Rusalka and Mamon advised the emperor to settle the latin in the house of the governor of Simsk, nicknamed Sample. He hates the filthy Germans with all the strength of his harsh soul, can not forgive them for the death that overtook the beloved son on his father’s eyes in the battle against Livonians. There is also a voivode of another son, Ivan Khabar-Simskoy, spending remarkable bravery and a life razgulnuyu, and a wonderful beauty daughter Anastasia, which the old man keeps from the evil eye in the tower. The sample covets Aristotle Fio-equality and his son Andryusha, baptized according to the Orthodox rite, the wanderer Athanasius Nikitin, and from the gentile lodger is fenced off by a deaf wall. But his daughter, once glancing out of the window at the terrible basurman, felt some pleasure in the deceived fear, never yet experienced.
Aristotle lovingly accepts the named son of his brother. The dreamer himself, who decided on the edge of Europe to erect a temple of the Theotokos of a gigantic size, he till the time for the Moscow prince pours guns and bells, burns a brick. The architect helps Anton not to lose heart among the nation-child. Anton-healer every day more and more enters into the mercy of the Grand Duke.
On Annunciation in the window in front of Ehrenstein flashed a wonderful sketch of the face and fiery glance of Anastasia. From this time on, in his name, he praises nature, humanity, God.
John III concentrates the forces of Russia. Tver separates it from the northern regions. By political cunning and military force, John is preparing to destroy this obstacle. The army assumes that he will entrust the conqueror of Novgorod, Prince Kholmsky. But at night Anton’s friend is rescued from prison by a friend of the Model, namely Prince Kholmsky, who refused to go against his homeland. This incident violates the border in the house, separating the Orthodox half from the Basurmans.
Khabar soon asks Anton to help his lover, who tried to poison the opponent. The beautiful Haida – the concubine of the weak and boastful Andrew Paleologue – is saved by the power of medicinal potions. For that the brother of the Grand Duchess bestows a healer with a golden chain. Remembering his poor mother, Anton accepts the gift. But on the subsequent feast of drunken Palaeologus defamed the Russian land. Khabar gives him a slap in the face; Anton throws a gift back at the feet of the last Byzantine.
Upon learning of the incident, Ivan Vasilyevich tells Boyar Mamon to give Khabar a hundred rubles and bow three times to his feet. Mamon hates Sample and his family for a long-standing refusal to extradite his son Anastasia. Having come to Khabar, the terrible boyar in his vengeance gives the prince’s money and insults the enemy. Khabar calls Mamon to fight to the death. John ordered the “field” to be not before the regiments returned from Tver. Prevent events: the battle, as God’s judgment, will take place, Mamon will be defeated, but Khabar will not take the life from the enemy.
Anastasia is no longer protected from what she once considered to be charm. With Andryusha she tells the sorcerer the most precious thing she has – a nativity cross: if she wears it, she will be saved in the next world from the burning tar. Radosten Anton is a precious gift, but, fearing to ruin the beloved soul with a bad name,
On the eve of the campaign, Ambassador Frederick III Nikolai Poppel, the adoptive son of Baron Ehrenstein, arrives in Moscow. He brought the offer of his lord to Ivan III in kings. But he does not like an equal. The knight of Poppel has a commission from his father: to assure the emperor that Anton-healer has appropriated to himself an autocratic noble name, so famous in Germany.
The day came to perform an army on Tver. Voevoda Khabar heads a detachment of scouts. Aristotle controls guns. The storyteller Athanasius Nikitin is chained – he, a Tver native, knows every bush there. And the court doctor is ordered to sit on a horse and accompany the conqueror. In that campaign, together with Khabar, he will be able to distinguish himself at the capture of the prince of Tver. Their sally will save the city from ruin – Ivan Vasilievich’s brother-in-law, Prince of Tver, the world will unlock the city gates. The German will return from the campaign in a Russian dress – he wants to earn the Russians’ trust.
The army returns to Moscow with a victory. Anton rises to his half, hears a rustling outside the door. Anastasia! .. She herself came to him to beg for her to free her from enchantments and to be baptized. He swears that he is a Christian, that he reveres magic by sin. After her departure, Anton insists in his heart: not out of greed, but out of love he must accept the Russian confession, and not renounce Christ, and then ask the boyar daughter’s hands. But the rumor makes him hurry. Anton goes on foot to the village to Afon Nikitin. The elder listens to the petition of the guest, expresses his readiness to be a sorcerer and matchmaker and performs his mission with dignity: his father gives Anastasia to the German.
An hour later, Anton-healer goes on his way back. In a swampy heath, he is saved from robbers by Jew Zachary, whom he once helped to escape in Prague.
The next morning, the heretics are punished. One incident overshadows the people this spectacle: suddenly the horse of the prince Karakachi throws off the rider, the only son of Tsarevich Danyar. The Grand Duke orders his doctor to cure the son of his Tatar friend. Anton vouches, if he begins to heal and he will not be disturbed, the prince will be healthy. On the prejudice of Danyar, the sovereign demands of the head a pledge. The goal to wrest Russia from the hands of ignorance takes precedence, and an honest physician swears, but on condition that all his demands are met exactly, and one of the trusted boyars of John will observe this in the absence of a doctor,
Karakach quickly recovers. The capricious Tatar is already making demands on his doctor for Anastasia – he was promised to her first. After the dispute, Anton sends the tsarevich a new medicine. At night, the boyar Rusalka, who was watching the execution of the prescriptions of the doctor, replaces the bottle. The next morning the old prince himself gives his son a drink, and a quarter of an hour later Karakach dies.
Anton is thrown into the prison house. The Grand Duke of Moscow kept his word before Danyar: in spite of the pleas of Anton’s friends, he gives the healer to the Tartars. For the bliss of the groom pays the innocent painful death. Anastasia, left without a trial, can not stand it and puts her hands on herself.