The Secret History of Moscow

The Secret History of Moscow
By Ekaterina Sedia
Cover art by Frederic Cayet
Cover design by Stephen H. Segal
Now available from Prime Books (Buy Now)
Read an excerpt at Behind the Wainscot
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Praise and Reviews

“The prose and the atmosphere is beautiful and decaying, and everything’s grey with astonishing little bursts of unforgettable colour… Deep, dark, remarkable stuff.”
Neil Gaiman

“Modern blue-collar Moscow is pitch-perfect . . . bustling yet seedy, disorganized and none too respectable.” —Publishers Weekly

“THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW is a truly remarkable performance, written in a consistently graceful and focused prose, and it succeeds both as a coherent fantasy novel and a meditation on the anxieties of history.—” Locus

“Sedia’s beautifully nuanced prose delivers both a uniquely enchanting fantasy and a thoughtful allegory that probes the Russian national psyche.” —Booklist

“Flavorsome fantasy set in the hidden underworld of newly capitalist Russia, from an ex-Muscovite and current New Jersey resident . . . great character sketches and plenty of magic-realist incidents, all set forth in charmingly Russian-accented prose.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Ekaterina Sedia’s THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW really feels like a secret: an alternative world a half-dimension removed from ours, a place woven out of whisper and shadow, populated with forgotten creatures and even less-remembered thoughts. It’s a satisfying quest novel not only because of the story line but also for the way the Escher-ready landscape reflects the fragile psychology of Sedia’s main character, Galina.” —LA Times

“Sedia’s novel is emblematic of much that is good about contemporary fantasy. It unites a classy prose style evolved through a string of small press publications with first-hand experience of a 90s Moscow crippled by post-Soviet economic decline. The story is infused with the tropes and traditions of fantasy, but set amid the grim reality of that decade’s turbulent politics. Sedia’s writing is a perfect example of the unique ways fantasy allows writers to examine reality.” —Guardian Unlimited

“Sedia writes prose that begs to be read; pick up this book and you’ll find yourself drawn in almost if it exudes the sort of magic it portrays too well. Her characters simply step into your life, no introduction needed. [She] sculpts a world that’s rich, clear and chock-a-block with charming strangeness.” —Agony Column

“Just as the delicate anatomy of birds makes flight possible, this author’s finely rendered prose gives a pleasing buoyancy to this substantial and thoroughly thought-provoking novel.” —Dead Reckonings

“[W]hat a treat it is—combining a wry political satire of Moscow in the 1990s with a richly imagined underworld, populated by Russia’s iconic fairy tale figures—from the smallest of the domovoi (house spirits) to the powerful Koschey the Deathless.” —Endicott Studio

“A very practical book with a marvelous sense of wonder… A highlight of the year.” —Realms of Fantasy

“As a story, THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW is best read as a multilayered conflict between the past and the present. [...] THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW will appeal to fans of urban fantasies and particularly those of Gaiman’s NEVERWHERE, although Sedia’s work certainly has its own style and approach to her native city. Highly recommended.” —OF Blog of the Fallen

“With beautiful prose throughout, THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW is at times magical and whimsical, and at times dark and moody. A bittersweet and emotional ending brings this one to a satisfying close. All in all, Ekaterina Sedia created what should be one of the most enchanting reads of the year.” —Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist

“If you like urban fantasy, or fairytales this is an excellent read. There is a sardonic, melancholy, funny quality to the book unlike anything else I have ever read. The setting is truly unique. The writing uses memories and evokes feeling far better than most novels which I have read. If I gave stars, this would be the North Star.” —Book Calendar

“[W]ith a mix of blunt, colloquial language, wry humor, a generous dollop of psychological traumas, and some fine descriptive passages (whether setting a scene, showing moments of self-understanding, or producing both in one decisive moment), Sedia moves effortlessly from a ’90s Moscow—where the world seems to have gone upside-down overnight—to its magical counterpart where weirdness is the norm, and finally back to the improbable realm of consensus reality. Meanwhile, she keeps in touch with her protagonists as individuals, fostering a sense of intimacy that keeps the plot from outracing our ability to think with them, feel with them, and share their remarkable experiences.” —Faren Miller, Locus

“THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW not only is a worthy addition to this tradition, but one that brings a surprising degree of political and social acuity to a subgenre that often too easily delights in its own ingenuity. … In the end, [it] is a truly remarkable performance, written in a consistently graceful and focused prose, and it succeeds both as a coherent fantasy novel and a meditation on the anxieties of history.” —Gary K. Wolfe, Locus

“Lavishly imagined and written, as all strong fantasy must be, with a compelling authenticity of detail and psychological insight, Ekaterina Sedia’s THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW is a brilliant read, another step taken in what promises to be a long and significant career.”—Lucius Shepard, author of VIATOR and SOFTSPOKEN, Nebula Award Winner

“Exciting and original! Myth, history and fairy tale meet and mingle with some compellingly real modern characters. Ekaterina Sedia is a very impressive young author, and one I’ll be watching with great interest.” —Ellen Kushner, author of THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SWORD

“Ekaterina Sedia’s THE SECRET HISTORY OF MOSCOW is a jewel of a book, a dispatch from a mythic tradition unfamiliar to most American readers. She combines Russian fatalism, Slavic fantasy and layers upon layers of Muscovite history to build a story that encodes a thousand years of experience within one woman’s search for her sister. These deep, unfamiliar waters will draw in any fan of modern fantasy.” —Jay Lake, author of MAINSPRING

“The Secret History of Moscow is a clever cocktail that’s one part Bulgakov and one part Gaiman—dark, disturbing, audacious, and wry as only a true Russian fantasy can be.”
—Gregory Frost, author of FITCHER’S BRIDES and SHADOWBRIDGE

“A post-Soviet AMERICAN GODS. Sedia deftly commands an impressive folkloric army under the streets of Moscow.” —Catherynne Valente, author of ORPHAN’S TALES and THE GRASS CUTTING SWORD

“The legendary figures of Secret History are so alien to many of us as to accomplish what myth is supposed to do—surprise and disorient; make us look again at the world and beliefs we took for granted.” —Richard Bowes, author of FROM THE FILES OF THE TIME RANGERS, World Fantasy Award Winner.