A truly stunning novel of one man's dangerous obsession with immortality, from the BAFTA award-winning creator of Bodyguard and Line of Duty
ONE OF THE GUARDIAN'S '1000 NOVELS EVERYONE MUST READ'
‘A completely gripping, read-at-once novel’ The Times
Yefgenii Yeremin is a flyer and a phantom.
Destined to go down in Soviet history books as ‘Ivan the Terrible’, the most deadly fighter pilot of the Korean War, one moment of madness sees Yefgenii throwing his reputation to the wind. Exiled to a remote Arctic base, his name unknown and victories uncelebrated, he must endure a fate worse than death: anonymity.
But when a man arrives from Moscow’s Space Committee in search of a volunteer prepared to sacrifice himself for his country, Yefgenii seizes his one last chance of immortality.
British author Mercurio's American debut, a techno-thriller about a Russian pilot, offers plenty of action and suspense, but not enough characterization. We first meet Yefgenii Yeremin as an orphan in Stalingrad in 1946, the rest of his family having died in WWII. We never learn his age, only that he is big and strong and good at math. His math skills get him a scholarship to an aviation school, and from then on Yeremin dreams only of flying first as one of the Russian MiG pilots who wore North Korean uniforms to attack American jets during the Korean War, then as an unsung hero of the Russian space program. Gripping action scenes include a gut-wrenching solo flight in which he's almost killed, but too many details of training pad out a short book, and nothing in it really tells us enough about Yeremin to make us care what happens to him. Mercurio (Bodies) trained as a doctor and served with the Royal Air Force.