Rasputin’s Bastards

David Nickle. ChiZine (Diamond, dist.), $16.95 trade paper (500p) ISBN 978-1-926851-59-4
This fantasy novel about cold war psychic spies and their controllers is written in the tradition of the great Russian novels: it’s very long, it’s got an enormously unwieldy cast, and a casual reader will often have no idea what’s going on. The “bastards” in question are children who can “dream-walk” and control the minds of others. They end up in the hands of an exploitive American ex-spy and are rescued by a Chinese dream-walker and a Russian bodyguard before getting mixed up in another dream-walker’s attempt to take over the world. While clever chapter titles give useful hints, it’s hard to keep everyone straight, given that at any point, a character may or may not be inhabited and controlled by another character or group of characters, and it isn’t necessarily clear whether any of their surroundings are real. There are many brilliant moments in this genuinely inventive book, but they’re too often separated by fanciful digressions and heavy-handed evocations of classic literature. Agent: Monica Pacheco, Anne McDermid Associates. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
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Ebook - 500 pages - 978-1-926851-66-2
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