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by Sergei Lebedev

Action / Adventure / Spy / Espionage Debut Books of the Month Political Thrillers Star Books Thriller and Suspense Translated Fiction

LoveReading View on Untraceable

Falling with exquisite yet hammer-hard precision this beautifully written political spy thriller from a Russian author feels like a unique read. When the Soviet Union collapses a chemist who developed an untraceable lethal poison defects. After a murder occurs using the poison, two men are sent to silence Professor Kalitin. An intriguing start sets this novel up and the plot continues to bubble and scheme away. I almost felt as though I should be swearing an official secrets act in order to read Untraceable. Sergei Lebedev has created the most fascinating and readable novel. His words echoed though me, huge in scope yet intimate in detail and emotion. The translation by Antonina W Bouis is fabulous, sometimes translated novels make you feel at home, this quite rightly ensured that I realised just how much I don’t know. At times I was left reeling, desperate to read more, to understand more and the ending hit with a shockwave. Deservedly a LoveReading Star Book Untraceable is a beautiful, disturbing and penetrating read. 

Liz Robinson

Untraceable Synopsis

An extraordinary and angry Russian novel about poisons of all kinds: physical, moral and political.

Untraceable is a wonderful piece of fiction rooted in the recent history of Russia's state assassinations, especially the attempted poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury.

Professor Kalitin is a ruthless, narcissistic chemist who has developed an untraceable, extremely lethal poison called Neophyte while working in a secret city on an island in the Russian far east. When the Soviet Union collapses, he defects and is given a new identity in Germany.

After an unrelated Russian is murdered with Kalitin's poison, his cover is blown and he's drawn into the German investigation of the death. Two special forces killers with a lot of Chechen blood on their hands are sent to silence him - using his own undetectable poison. Their journey to their target is full of blunders, mishaps, holdups and accidents.

Urgently topical and compellingly readable.

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Closing date: 04/03/2021

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Untraceable Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

This book is small but perfectly formed. What it manages to convey between the covers through its intense detail and language is quite inspiring. The history, the characters and the atmosphere are haunting. Full review

Lynne Packer

Untraceable Press Reviews


'Not since Alexander Solzhenitsyn has Russia had a writer as obsessed as Sergei Lebedev with that country's history or the traces it has left on the collective consciousness. Rich in textures, colors, sounds, and visual details, wonderfully rendered into English by Antonina W. Bouis ... Lebedev is arguably the best of Russia's younger generation of writers' Orlando Figes, New York Review of Books.

'Enthralling and exquisite, by one of modern Russia's finest writers' Philippe Sands, author of East West Street.

'One of Russia's most interesting young novelists takes on Putin, poison and power in this unique novel; Lebedev provides a fascinating window on modern Russia' Anne Applebaum.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781800246591
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781800246591
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Sergei Lebedev
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 256 pages
Genres: Action Adventure / Spy, Debuts of the Month, Political Thrillers, Star Books, Thriller / Suspense, Translated Fiction,
Categories: Thriller / suspense, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Fiction in translation,

About Sergei Lebedev

Sergei Lebedev was born in Moscow in 1981 and worked for seven years on geological expeditions in northern Russia and Central Asia. Lebedev is a poet, essayist and journalist. His novels have been translated into many languages and received great acclaim in the English-speaking world. The New York Review of Books has hailed Lebedev as 'the best of Russia’s younger generation of writers' Antonina W. Bouis is one of the leading translators of Russian literature working today. She has translated over 80 works from authors such as Evgeny Yevtushenko, Mikhail Bulgakov, Andrei Sakharov, Sergei Dovlatov and Arkady and Boris Strugatsky. ...

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