Untraceable (Hardback)
  • Untraceable (Hardback)
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Untraceable (Hardback)

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£18.99
Hardback 256 Pages
Published: 04/03/2021
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'A superb literary thriller' The Times, Book of the Week

'A thriller dipped in poison... Lebedev shares some of le Carré's fascination with secret worlds and the nature of evil' New York TimesAn extraordinary and angry Russian novel about poisons of all kinds: physical, moral and political.

Professor Kalitin is a ruthless, narcissistic chemist who has developed an untraceable, extremely lethal poison called Neophyte while working in a secret city on an island in the Russian far east. When the Soviet Union collapses, he defects and is given a new identity in Germany.

After an unrelated Russian is murdered with Kalitin's poison, his cover is blown and he's drawn into the German investigation of the death. Two special forces killers with a lot of Chechen blood on their hands are sent to silence him – using his own undetectable poison. Their journey to their target is full of blunders, mishaps, holdups and accidents.

Praise for Sergei Lebedev:

'One of Russia's most interesting young novelists takes on Putin, poison and power in this unique novel; Lebedev provides a fascinating window on modern Russia' Anne Applebaum

'Turn off your television sets and get reading. Sergei Lebedev writes not of the past, but of today' Svetlana Alexievich

'Lebedev's books dealt with history – it lay like a shadow over everything he wrote – and the fact that its presence was so powerful suggested that the conflicts and tensions inherent in it were still unresolved, still had a bearing on Russian society in obscure yet palpable ways' Karl Ove Knausgaard

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
ISBN: 9781800246591
Number of pages: 256
Dimensions: 210 x 130 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

Not since Alexander Solzhenitsyn has Russia had a writer as obsessed as Sergei Lebedev with that country's history or the traces it has left on the collective consciousness. Rich in textures, colors, sounds, and visual details, wonderfully rendered into English by Antonina W. Bouis... Lebedev is arguably the best of Russia's younger generation of writers' - Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books

Enthralling and exquisite, by one of modern Russia's finest writers - Philippe Sands, author of East West Street

One of Russia's most interesting young novelists takes on Putin, poison and power in this unique novel; Lebedev provides a fascinating window on modern Russia - Anne Applebaum

A spellbinding insight into a secret world that we forget at our peril, a world of assassins, spies, patriots and poison masters whose shockingly evil decisions are made in their unwavering belief of serving a greater good. A thrilling, haunting, essential read - Roy MacLean, author of Pravda Ha Ha: Truth, Lies and the End of Europe

Astonishing... Ingeniously structured around the progressive uncovering of memories of a difficult personal and national past [...] with a visceral, at times almost unbearable, force' - Times Literary Supplement

A Dantean descent... As cold and stark as a glacial crevasse, but as beautiful as one, too, with a clear poetic sensibility built to stand against the forces of erasure' - Wall Street Journal

Sergei Lebedev is a marvelous writer with two rare gifts: a nobility of style and the most precise inner vision, which allows him to see and plumb the entire depth of the anthropological catastrophe that occurred in twentieth-century Russia. Lebedev has perceived what was invisible to most Soviet and post-Soviet writers - Vladimir Sorkin, author of The Blizzard, Day of the Oprichnik and Ice Trilogy

I almost felt as though I should be swearing an official secrets act in order to read Untraceable. [Lebedev's] words echoed through me... The translation by Antonina W. Bouis is fabulous... A beautiful, disturbing and penetrating read' - LoveReading

I was captured by the velvet lyricism of his prose and his le Carré-ish plot - Guardian

Beautifully written, this political spy thriller from Russia is an exciting, penetrating, absolute whammy of a read - LoveReading

Lebedev has written a novel with firm nods to Skripal and Novichok, but also widens out to poisons both moral and political - Living Magazine

An intense and intelligent novel that maps the political life of modern Russia through its history and relationship with the wider world... This is a novel of ethics and pragmatism, of obsession and revenge, of entrenched divisions and how power resides in the wrong hands' - Crime Time

[A] superb literary thriller - The Times

Lebedev writes superbly and his denouement deftly blends comedy and poignancy - Sunday Times

Lebedev's story transcends its factual source material. On the surface, Untraceable is a taut spy thriller with Gothic flourishes... Woven into the cloak-and-dagger chase is a complex tale of memory. Failed relationships, missions and regimes haunt the novel's characters as they do John le Carré's... Explores the Soviet legacy, the toll of more recent depredations in the north Caucasus (where one of the agents has witnessed and committed atrocities), and contemporary Russia's unwillingness to reckon with its past' - Economist

[Lebedev] takes the spy novel and transforms it into something akin to a political, even spiritual, allegory... The details surrounding these cases are so lurid that at times they feel fictional, and with Untraceable, Sergei Lebedev has won the race to write the first serious (and immensely readable) spy novel about such poisoners' - Financial Times

Untraceable, beautifully translated by Antonina W. Bouis, is spy fiction of the highest calibre - Irish Times Weekend

The topicality of this fierce novel risks overshadowing its literary and literary historical qualities. To my mind it invites comparisons with two beacons of extremism from the earlier twentieth century: Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon and the terrifyingly aestheticized war diaries of Ernst Jünger - TLS

Offers a pitiless insight into a murky, secret world where everyone is bad and morally corrupted by misusing their 'creativity in the name of evil' - Irish Independent

Spellbinding - The Tablet

Superb literary thriller - Sunday Times

Sergei Lebedev writes beautifully about the horrors involved, the emotions of the individuals and the landscapes in which they operate. The translation is smooth and unobtrusive. This is a most impressive account of human and state depravity and one man's indefatigable attempts to do good at whatever cost to himself - Literary Review

Sergei Lebedev's Untraceable set within a world of poisoned dissidents, conflicted morality and Kremlin power politics is a sinister thriller that lingers - Financial Times

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miss.mesmerized

“Sergei Lebedev – Untraceable”

For many years, Kalitin has lived alone on the hill, in the house at the end of the road, isolated from his neighbours. He kept for himself, guarded the secrets of his former life, knowing that one day, they would... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 4

“Another author to watch out for”

Thank you to the publishers for this review copy. I have never read Sergei Lebedev before but I very much love political thrillers with links to or set in Russia.
This was a great read, set in the present, looks back... More

Hardback edition
Helpful? Upvote 1

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