I have loved the other books I’ve read by Natasha Pulley, all of which have had a magical realism element in an historical fiction setting. When I saw the title of this book, I assumed it would be more of the same so I eagerly bought it.
Well, I was wrong in thinking this book has magical realism. In fact, had I read the synopsis of the plot if I didn’t know the author, I definitely wouldn’t have read this book, thinking it wouldn’t have been my cup of tea.
Set in the Soviet Union during the 1960s, the title Character, Valery K is an academic studying the effects of radiation on biology who had been imprisoned in the Siberian gulags for six years on trumped up charges.
He is unexpectedly removed from prison and sent to work with a team of scientists in an unknown town studying the effect of the nearby nuclear powerplant on the environment. He soon discovers there are deeper and more sinister things afoot, and others before him who had asked too many questions have wound up dead.
I really loved this book. I was totally gripped, I loved the characters. I loved Valery’s journey from barely surviving prisoner to respected colleague, to terrified secret keeper. I even loved all the historical detail. Fabulous book!