An epic debut novel about a lovelorn eighteenth-century Russian noble, cursed with longevity and an immunity to cold, whose quest for the truth behind his condition spans two thrilling centuries and a stunning array of historical events. The Empress Anna Ioannovna has issued her latest eccentric order: construct a palace out of ice blocks. Inside its walls her slaves build a wedding chamber, a canopy bed on a dais, heavy drapes cascading to the floor-all made of ice. Sealed inside are a disgraced nobleman and a deformed female jester. On the empress’s command-for her entertainment-these two are to be married, the relationship consummated inside this frozen prison. In the morning, guards enter to find them half-dead. Nine months later, two boys are born.Surrounded by servants and animals, Prince Alexander Velitzyn and his twin brother, Andrei, have an idyllic childhood on the family’s large country estate. But as they approach manhood, stark differences coalesce. Andrei is daring and ambitious; Alexander is tentative and adrift. One frigid winter night on the road between St. Petersburg and Moscow, as he flees his army post, Alexander comes to a horrifying revelation: his body is immune to cold.
J. M. Sidorova’s boldly original and genrebending novel takes readers from the grisly fields of the Napoleonic Wars to the blazing heat of Afghanistan, from the outer reaches of Siberia to the cacophonous streets of nineteenth-century Paris. The adventures of its protagonist, Prince Alexander Velitzyn-on a lifelong quest for the truth behind his strange physiology-will span three continents and two centuries and bring him into contact with an incredible range of real historical figures, from Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein, to the licentious Russian empress Elizaveta and Arctic explorer Joseph Billings.
The Age of Ice is one of the most enchanting and inventive debut novels of the year.
Ooooooh this book give me the happys.
Do-do-do great writing la-la-la believable characters tum-te-tum great concept -fiddle-dee-dee this is just wonderful please buy it and make it a bestseller.
I’m honestly not sure I can do a more in-depth review than that. I could go on and tell you about how the descriptions made me shiver – with cold, with disgust, with desire – or how the book made me cry (twice!). I could tell you that it is almost perfect in every way, from character voice to description. I could tell you that, I could.
But I can’t actually stop my internal squeeing long enough to give you a proper review.
So, the short one: Brilliant writing, the plot is top-notch, the characters are believeable. If it has a fault it’s that, like many literary novels, it doesn’t seem to believe in actual resolution and stops at a frustrating point. Literary novelists, please learn how to write endings, sincerely, me.
5 out of 5.
Review copy given free by Scrivener
- The Age of Ice by J.M. Sidorova (readfulthingsblog.com)
- THE MONK KUZMICH AND THE STRANGE DEATH OF TSAR ALEXANDER I~by glenn kinyon (behindtheberezina.wordpress.com)