I thought I might post short reviews of the books I read. Most of the are more or less history-related, anyway :). Here's the last one.
I keep my reading diary in Emacs and export the data from org-mode to HTML, hence that probably strange look of the article below. Let me know if you don't like the way it looks.
1.30 DONE [#6] Курылев, Олег. Убить фюрера. fiction scifi
This was the third book of Oleg Kurylev that I've read. The first two books were rather simple sci-fi stories about travels in time. Both were set in the Third Reich shortly before and during the war. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read anything else by this author. The most attractive feature of those two books was the author's amazing familiarity with the details of life in the Nazi Germany. The especially conspicous was his brilliant knowledge of the German awards, uniforms, titles and all that. I am almost sure that Kurylev is a historian and specializes on the history of the Central and Eastern Europe in the first half of the XX century.
A week ago I saw his new book on the shelves. I glanced at the annotation... and bought it. And I'm not sorry about it. The book starts with time travel again. A worker of the Institute of Historical Explorations in Novosibirsk is sent to 1911 to copy some books in a Prague library. Due to some peculiarities of the temporal physics, the time travel is actuall a travel to a parallel universe. So, the paradox of the killed grandfather is avoided. But the time travellers must return home before the link to the target period closes, because every parallel universe can be contacted only once. Savva becomes a defector. He has prepared his escape well and has a computer with a lot of data about the events of the 1910-1950 in Germany and nearby. He does not return in time and goes to Berlin where he begins making money by playing in casinos (the computer supplies him with newspaper articles where the rulette winning numbers are mentioned) and on horse races (once again -- the computer). Then, quite of a sudden, a man pays visit to him. He turns out to be his colleague, Vadim Nizhegorodsky, who was sent to the past through the same "window" when Savva missed the deadline to see if he's around and fetch him, but the window closes and Vadim finds himself unprepared, unlike Savva, in Prague of 1911. He manages to find Savva and they begin joint operations.
They are two opposites. Savva is a phlegmatic planner, and Vadim is a lively man of action. Savva is careful not to change too many events in the history so that he would use his advantages as long as possible. Vadim, on the other hand, is impulsive and emotional. Among other things, he finds young painter named Hitler, lies about a sudden death of Hitler's kin in USA who leaves thousands of dollars to Adolf, and sends him across the Atlantic. On April 1912. You guess the name of ship ;). Yeah, right. However, Hitler survives. Savva doesn't know about these experiments of Vadim. He is torn between the desire to save the people who would die during the world wars or on Titanic, but prefers to remain a passive observer. Vadim finds Hitler once again and advices him to pass a test on racial purity in a Berlin clinic. Then he gives Hitler fake results saying that Adi is a Jew and the disappointed not-yet-führer commits suicide. Savva learns of the fact, understands that the hopes of keeping the history intact as long as possible are lost and joins Vadim in the attempts to stop the first world war.
First, they depart to Sarajevo and save archduke Ferdinand. The European politicians, however, behave just as they did in our history, and the war is getting closer. Savva prints a book on the history of the WWI written by someone John Smartgun in early XXI century, publishes it in huge numbers and sends copies to the most important politicians and military leaders. They are frightened by the depth of knowledge of the mysterious author and by the prospectives of the 4-year long war and stop the war preparations.
Once again, sometimes insufficiently original plot is compensated with the brilliant details. The author knows everything: topography of Prague, Berlin and Münich, biography of the Nazi predecessors, names of German companies, ships and newspapers of that epoch and many, many more. These details give the book an amazing credibility and I will wait for the sequel with impatience. And the sequel is definitely planned: on the last pages of the book the two adventurers go to Russia and meet a funny little man named Ulyanov in a train. The book ends with the Vadim's words: "I've got a fabulous idea!" :)
- State "READING"
ISBN: 978-5-699-22771-6 DDC: 82-312.9 BBK: 84(2Рос-Рус)6-4 К93
- Убить фюрера: Фантастический роман / Олег Курылев. - М.: Эксмо, 2007. - 544 с. - (Русская фантастика).