The Monastery Zakhar Prilepin “Humanity is dark and terrifying, but the world is human and warm.” So ends Zakhar Prilepin’s massive historical novel “The Monastery” (Обитель), about the Solovki monastery-turned-prison-camp, the seed of the GULAG system. Following the fortunes of Artyom Goryainov, a prisoner in the camp, the novel charts all the aspects of prison […]Read more "“The Monastery” (Обитель) by Zakhar Prilepin"
The Winged Horse C.P. Lesley “The Winged Horse” starts up shortly after “The Golden Lynx” ends. This time it’s Ogodai, the dutiful older brother of spitfire Nasan, the heroine of the first book, whose story gets told. Ogodai, oldest son of the khan Bulat, has been betrothed to Firuza, daughter of a bey amongst the […]Read more "“The Winged Horse” by C.P. Lesley"
The Wings to Fly Lisa Marie Gabriel Of all the romantic icons of the early 20th century, pioneering aviatrixes (aviatrices??) are some of the most romantic, at least in my opinion. So that, combined with my interest in reading a broad sampling of the war-related writing that’s currently being putting out, meant I had to […]Read more "“The Wings to Fly” by Lisa Marie Gabriel"
Medousa Michael Butchin I recently had the pleasure of rereading this book, so I’m posting both my original review and my update to it below: Update: The author has since reworked the novel, and was kind enough to provide me with a copy of the new edition. While I quite enjoyed the original version, I […]Read more "“Medousa” by Michael Butchin"
Russia’s Lomonosov: Chemist, Courtier, Physicist, Poet Boris N. Menshutkin Russian literature didn’t come into its own until partway through the 19th century. But already in the 18th century it was laying the ground for its later flourishing through the actions of people of genius, whose writing was groundbreaking for its time and whose lives were […]Read more "“Russia’s Lomonosov” by Boris Menshutkin"
Capsoul Alex Krasnov If you like numerology, this is the book for you. A mixture of science, science fiction, fantasy, and mysticism based on numerology, “Capsoul” is the story of a group of emigres from the former USSR to the US and Canada who design a project to create a kind of “immortality machine” that […]Read more "“Capsoul” by Alex Krasnov"
In “City Folk and Country Folk,” not-particularly-rich minor gentry Erast Sergeyevich Ovcharov has returned to his home village to take a rest cure and drink whey. His own estate is not inhabitable, so he ends up renting a bathhouse from his neighbor, Nastasya Ivanovna Chulkova. This draws the both of them into a summer of […]Read more "“City Folk and Country Folk” by Sofia Khvoshchinskaya"
Hiro Hattori has a problem: he needs to find the murderer of an important guest ASAP. But the suspects are all people he doesn’t want to give up. Like his mother. Or his ex-lover. As time runs out, what is he going to do? “Betrayal at Iga” is set in 16th-century Japan, and is full […]Read more "“Betrayal at Iga” by Susan Spann"
How does an illegitimate Venetian girl become the wife of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire? What was her life like? What kind of power does she wield, and how? “The Mapmaker’s Daughter,” a fictionalized memoir of Cecilia/Nurbanu, the real-life Venetian captive who became wife and then mother to Sultans, seeks to answer those questions. […]Read more "“The Mapmaker’s Daughter” by Katherine Nouri Hughes"
In “Wolf Hunt,” the threads of village passions come together as a group sets off on a wolf hunt that serves as a pretext for something even more murderous. Living side-by-side for decades, right through the upheavals of WWII and forced collectivization, has inflamed resentments rather than drawing people together, leading to a violent denouement. […]Read more "“Wolf Hunt” by Ivailo Petrov"