Catherynne M. Valente
A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya’s fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace – only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.
Koschei the Deathless is by far by the most interesting and charismatic monster I have ever met, and I can't help but feel that I was changed more by that meeting than by most of my meetings with fellow humans. In Deathless, Catherynne M. Valente brings traditional Russian folklore together with a frighteningly real portrayal of Russia in 1920-1940. The story that is created is full of monsters, creatures and communist radicals, and it is also achingly poignant. -- Alyssa Cooper Writers such as Brockmeier, Mieville and Valente are returning to fantasy for the many ways it can unlock the truth. Perhaps it is a consequence of living in an era of such radical change, but the fantasic seems once again to play a part in expressing the truth of our time. * Guardian * A remarkable piece of speculative fiction - a collision of myth, magic, folklore and actual history (almost incidentally describing the story of Russia across the twentieth century) . . . Bold, subversive, genre-defying. * BookOxygen * Stories, unlike people . . . can live again . . . They must be revived by the miraculous touch of a very rare class of being, a kind of multi-classed genius/scholar/saint, who can restore them to life. Catherynne Valente is such a being. * Lev Grossman * Swept away to the icy wastes of the Russian steppes and the frigid streets of Stalinist St Petersburg I felt I'd happened upon a forgotten classic. A spine-tingling mix of magic and darkness, it echoes both The Master and Margarita and Angela Carter's The Company of Wolves. The prose is perfect, the imagery - houses made of living skin, birds that turn into husbands and, oh, so much blood - is spectacular and the story totally absorbing. This book is not just good, it is genuinely extraordinary. -- Laura Kelly * Big Issue * Cat Valente is the Ray Bradbury of her generation. * Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians * Valente's invention and ambition are extraordinary. * The Times * Romantic and blood-streaked, and infused with magic so real you can feel it on your fingertips - Deathless is beautiful. * Cory Doctorow *
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