First Published: 2011
Pages: 349 (Paperback)
A handsome young man arrives in St Petersburg at the house of Marya Morevna. He is Koschei, the Tsar of Life, and he is Marya’s fate. For years she follows him in love and in war, and bears the scars. But eventually Marya returns to her birthplace – only to discover a starveling city, haunted by death. Deathless is a fierce story of life and death, love and power, old memories, deep myth and dark magic, set against the history of Russia in the twentieth century. It is, quite simply, unforgettable.
Catching up on some reviews that, for various reasons, I never got round to writing in 2013.
Deathless is an absolutely fantastic, wonderful, intelligent, beautifully-written book. A retelling of the Russian Fairytale, Marya Morevna and Koschei the Deathless, Valente transports the story into the politically turbulent setting of 20th century Russia, and asks the very questions I asked myself when I read the original ‘Who is Marya Morevna? And why and how does she have Koschei the Deathless locked up in a closet?’