Valery Bochkov

Trilogy Charon
Coronation of the Beast
The Brother of Cain
Political thriller - trilogy. AST. Moscow 2016. approx. 320 pages each

This trilogy is a masterful mix of classical American high-tension political thriller, alive with realistic characters, cinematographic in detail and scope, and of classic Russian intellectual prose, with philosophical and social tension reminiscent of Dostoyevsky’s “Demons”. A page turner with the plot precisely organized with dynamic pace and action in each individual novel as well as in the trilogy as a whole.

Each novel can be read separately, because in each case the first-person narrator in the centre of the plot is a different hero or heroine. Thanks to this approach three different narrators relate in each novel their perspective of the same event - albeit as perpetrator, intermediary or victim. In addition, the author manages to fictionally connect the remote political participants to the main protagonists in a personal relationship, thereby mirroring the governmental intrigues and power struggles on a personal level. In this way the characters and their motives become easily and emotionally accessible. And the psychologically and intelligently crafted protagonists never become predictable; they are neither only good nor only bad and are easily recognizable to the reader, although to prolong the suspense the author occasionally alters the points of identification.

All three novels deal with the different phases that could occur in a serious upheaval in modern Russia. Within the chronological and atmospherical composition of the trilogy, part 1 (planning and assassination) represents the calm before the storm, part 2 (power vacuum after the murder of the president) presents the unleashing of violence, and part 3 (the new regime) stands for the deceptive peace.

With great insight Bochkov reveals a provocatively straight-forward view of Russia at home in the West - skilfully presents the reader with the external western perspective, but at the same time causes the Westerner to feel directly involved and affected. The great similarity with present-day characters and events is deliberate and strengthens the breath-taking effect of experiencing the historically possibility in a seemingly live transmission.

Whether the future of Russian history is being written in these three books, or whether the reading will write a new future, only time will tell.