The Best Russian Books in English

Forget War and Peace: this blog offers reviews of fun and interesting Russian books in English, links to their Amazon pages, interviews with new and upcoming Russian authors, with the emphasis on Russian genre fiction: LitRPG, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, romance, mystery and other popular reads.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Treasure discovered in St Petersburg

This is the stuff B-movies are made of: a team of builders restoring a St Petersburg palace has discovered a buried treasure in the cellar when they broke into what turned out to be a secret bricked-in niche. The 29 Tchaïkovsky Street mansion that once belonged to the Naryshkin family - one of the richest and most influential at the Tzar's court - concealed over a thousand pieces of silverware, table china and jewelry, including some rare first world war military decorations complete with paperwork which must cost a fortune these days.

Apparently, the Naryshkins' household treasures were painstakingly packed and stored away in the wake of the Socialist Revolution of 1917. Some of the items, particularly several military decorations, belonged to Lieutenant Sergei Sergeevich Somov, a distant relative of the Naryshkins. He died on February 12 1976 in Paris, apparently leaving no relatives. The Naryshkins themselves have no surviving offspring, either. In this case, 50% of the treasure's worth will be paid to the workers who found it, and the other half will go to the Russian state.

The treasure will be moved to one of St Petersburg's numerous art museums once a suitable alarm system is installed there. In the meantime, it is in the care of the police.

To see pictures of the treasure, click here

Monday, March 5, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Art: Introducing bestselling Russian SF author Alex Bobl

Hi there! Alex Bobl who became known as a co-author of a hugely popular Russian SF project S.T.A.L.K.E.R. (not to be confused with Stalker: A Film by Andrei Tarkovsky although greatly inspired by it) later went on to work on an eight-novel post-apocalyptic series, Technotma: the Dark Times. In it, Alex Bobl and co-author Andrei Levitsky create an eerie world where the Black Sea has become a major desert and all that's left of the Crimea Peninsula is a single mountain.

There are some talks now about translating some of the Technotma books into English. In the meantime, two of his last standalone novels are available on Amazon, with cover art from Russia's leading post apocalyptic artist Vladimir Manyukhin:

A high tech adventure set in a near-future world, Point Apocalypse tells the story of Mark Posner, a court-martialled Russian army soldier (no spoilers, LOL) who has to escape the post-apocalyptic prison world of Continent Anomalous. Rife with mutated wildlife and ruthless enemies, this newly-discovered planet now threatens the unstable dystopian Earth with destruction unless Mark and his comrades in arms manage to stand in the evil overlords' way.

In a futuristic bombed-out New York, the almighty Memoria Corporation helps people erase their traumatic memories. What else would you need in a world free from wars and crime? But the bubble bursts when a humble citizen Frank Shelby becomes a murder suspect on the run. Betrayed by his friends and hunted down by mysterious killers, Frank has to penetrate Memoria and find evidence of their real plans before it's too late for all of us.

Finally, a post-apocalyptic picture by an outstanding Russian book illustrator Ivan Khivrenko - just one of those breathtaking science fiction images that illustrate Technotma novels (you can see more post-apocalyptic artwork in Alex's blog, Obviously Incredible):