“Ruthenia & Galicia”

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To quote myself from another website:

Having read over 80 books last year, I have already made a New Year’s resolution to read less in 2020, but now, with the extraordinary circumstances of the economy in limbo and the society in self-isolation, I’ve again come to the conclusion that the pandemic might as well be the time we get to do things we haven’t had time or inclination to do before. Don’t let the precious time go to waste and hibernation.

Hence this website and the book. In dribs and drabs, somewhat reminiscent of newspapers and magazines serialising books in ages past, but arguably better than nothing – although you will be the judge of it.

So this is my new-old project: my second novel, “Ruthenia & Galicia”, or a mature draft thereof, appearing bit by bit, hopefully for your reading pleasure. Here is the website with the novel and about the novel and its fictional world. As you can see, a very much work in progress, which might need your help and encouragement along the way.

The blurb:

Welcome to the Kingdom of Ruthenia and Galicia, Europe’s newest state and the only one whose existence the European Union has had to extensively investigate before admitting as a member. The country which has literally popped into existence somewhere between Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia, and yet is not actually there in a physical sense. The country where the latest census lists 1.7 per cent of the population as non-human or partly human.

Jake Voynich is a young New Yorker on a mission to the Kingdom to fulfill his estranged grandfather’s last wish and a condition of Jake’s family inheriting the old man’s fortune. All that Jake has to do is to scatter his grandfather’s ashes in a picturesque spot in the mountains south of the capital, Czernograd. But within half an hour of arriving to the ancestral land he never knew he had, the ashes get confiscated by the Customs and Jake narrowly avoids getting run down by a speeding car.

Elsewhere in the capital, Igor Svoboda, a full-time metro beat journalist on “The Czernograd Gazette” and a part-time proudly self-described scoundrel and debauch, gets called out to report on a suspected self-staking. It appears to be a routine case of a troubled vampire taking his own life, until Igor starts asking too many questions and discovers that being a media professional can be dangerous for one’s health, particularly when some stories are meant to stay buried, just like their subject matter.

In the capital’s top hospital, King Stefan is slowly succumbing to cancer. Waiting in the wings is his son, Prince Piotr, a reformed playboy and the only remaining male heir to the throne of the Kingdom. Throughout the country many look on in trepidation. This will be the first royal succession since Ruthenia and Galicia has materialised into existence – and it comes at a time where the country seems to be slowly but inexorably drifting away from its magic roots and towards normalcy; magic trees and streams speak less frequently, humans no longer fully turn into beasts, even vampires might be finally facing mortality.

In a grim old building in Czernograd’s Government Quarter, Halszka Saint-Germain-Bukowski, the Ruthenian Counter-Intelligence operative, is on the trail of a well hidden but far-reaching conspiracy. All the unsettling existential changes might turn out to be the country’s least problem.

It’s a hot summer in Europe’s own magic kingdom, and dark secrets, some decades old and some brand new, are about to erupt to the surface, threatening to destroy the peace of the Kingdom and the lives of all those drawn into their deadly maelstrom.

Welcome to Europe’s very own magic kingdom, everyone. But remember: every magic kingdom has a dark side.

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