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The Silver Bone

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9781529426496

Price: £20

ON SALE: 5th March 2024

Genre: Fiction & Related Items / Crime & Mystery / Historical Mysteries

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“Andrey Kurkov is often called Ukraine’s greatest living writer, and it is a gift for crime fiction fans that he writes in this genre” New York Times

“A very intriguing and atmospheric novel by a highly accomplished writer . . . A fascinating read in the light of contemporary events” Alexander McCall Smith, Bestselling Author of The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency

Kyiv, 1919. The Soviets control the city, but White armies menace them from the West. No man trusts his neighbour and any spark of resistance may ignite into open rebellion.

When Samson Kolechko’s father is murdered, his last act is to save his son from a falling Cossack sabre. Deprived of his right ear instead of his head, Samson is left an orphan, with only his father’s collection of abacuses for company.

Until, that is, his flat is requisitioned by two Red Army soldiers, whose secret plans Samson is somehow able to overhear with uncanny clarity. Eager to thwart them, he stumbles into a world of murder and intrigue that will either be the making of him – or finish what the Cossack started.

Inflected with Kurkov’s signature humour and magical realism, The Silver Bone takes inspiration from the real life archives of crime enforcement agencies in Kyiv, crafting a propulsive narrative that bursts to life with rich historical detail.

Translated from the Russian by Boris Dralyuk


Original and intriguing. Relocates the historical crime novel somewhere between Kafka and The Twilight Zone
Frank Tallis, author of the Liebermann Papers (Vienna Blood)
Rich and compulsive, a modern classic in the making
Anna Bailey
A Kyiv torn to pieces by WWI provides the backdrop for this fascinating series launch . . . With its earthy prose and stunning attention to detail, this stands apart
Publishers Weekly
Told with black humour and great narrative brio
The Sunday Times
Witty and enjoyable, Boris Dralyuk's translation is playful and subtle . . . It promises rich storytelling in future instalments
Translated from the Russian by poet Boris Dralyuk, Kurkov's prose is brisk but capacious, with a quiet flair . . . And though it is clear-eyed in its depiction of war's sheer senselessness, The Silver Bone has an unusual poetic lightness too
Financial Times
A delightfully dark novel - refreshing, unique, comical
Historical Novel Society
Wildly enjoyable . . . A glorious aural portrait of a city in dangerous flux . . . I finished The Silver Bone wishing to read more
A masterpiece
The Lady
The first in a fine new series . . . Andrey Kurkov is often called Ukraine's greatest living writer, and it is a gift for crime fiction fans that he writes in this genre
New York Times
A gripping historical thriller set in Kyiv in the aftermath of the Russian revolution . . . A book that has all the hallmarks of Kurkov at his best
New European