Saint Petersburg, 1860. Retired officer Yakovlev is a mysterious and unbeatable duelist for hire. For a fee, he fights on behalf of those too weak, unskilled or frightened to fight duels themselves.
He was discovered as a promising director at the biggest Russian national film festival Kinotavr where he won the Best Debut award for his film Hard-Hearted(2007). His two other feature films, both of which were positively received at European film festivals. Seeing the talent of the director and sensing his potential, Rodnyansky offered him a chance to make a high-end genre film with the visual attraction of the high budget adventure film.