Revelation of Fire
Avilova’s novel demonstrates an impressive grasp of Russian literature and history. Bert Renes, a Slavonic scholar, is doing research in Moscow in the early 1980s when he discovers that an intriguing 16th-century manuscript is missing from the state archive. The manuscript, Revelation of Fire, contains the teachings of Eularios, one of the Cenergites line of monks who for centuries remained untouched by antiheresy movements. As Bert and archivist Nadya Demyanova begin to uncover the secrets of Revelation, their fascination with the manuscript’s past owners grows, and Avilova weaves in historical accounts of the manuscripts past owners, including the self-proclaimed “first female Cenergite” and a pair of orphan twins who mysteriously disappeared. The depictions of Cold War-era Moscow are convincingly dreary and wonderfully paranoia-inducing,….Brainy historical Russian mysticism deployed at a page-turning pace isn’t for everyone, but a chunk of devotees will dig it.
Sharing the recent popularity of mysterious religious and political entities harboring fateful secrets, this novel is about a Dutch Slavonic scholar and a female archivist who discover that a two hundred year old manuscript is missing from Moscow s State Cultural and Historical Archive. As they begin to find out how it vanished they also begin to reconstruct its trail of ownership over the past two hundred years.
Remarkably detailed, the story includes Russian history, art, politics, religion, and good guys and bad guys, of course! The setting bounces back and forth from contemporary times to notable periods of Russian history: the 1870s when the first socialist groups appeared; the Civil War of 1919; perestroika (the economic reforms introduced in June 1987 by Mikhail Gorbachev); and, present-day Russia.
There are many characters in the book, so thankfully Avilova wrote a non-related family tree of the significant characters and places in the book.
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