Darkness at noon
Darkness at Noon is the most famous novel by Arthur Koestler. Published in 1940, it tells the tale of Rubashov, a Bolshevik old guard revolutionary who is first cast out, and then imprisoned and tried for treason by the Soviet government he once helped create.
Through a complex process of intellectual arguments, mild physical torture, and moral reflection, Rubashov gradually agrees to publicly confess to multiple crimes against the state. He decides to confess to these imaginary crimes because he still wishes to serve the ideals of the revolution, and because his reflections lead him to accept he has caused severe suffering and torment to many of the people closest to him. The novel is set in 1938 during the Stalinist purges and Moscow show trials.
Darkness at Noon sold over 400,000 copies in France, causing great annoyance to those French communists who were still loyal to the Soviet revolution.
The book reflects the author's personal disillusionment with Communism and Stalin's destruction of the revolution; Koestler knew some of the defendants at the Moscow trials. Stalin is described in the book as "Number One", a barely-seen and menacing totalitarian leader.