About a year ago, we discovered a fantastic historical fiction trilogy written by a Russian author. These novels are not only brilliantly plotted, richly descriptive, and truly thrilling, but they take place 1200 years ago, in 749 AD. In Central Asia.
Think Stieg Larsson meets Umberto Eco.
These books are timeless tales of adventure, espionage, romance and war, yet they are also historically accurate, full of compelling characters, and wonderfully written.
"In the unexpected coupling of poetry and hard-bitten thriller lies all its charm..." one reviewer wrote. Another noted that "no one writes like Chen in Russian today," while yet another termed one book "a poetic masterpiece." [read more reviews here]
By the year 749 A.D., the Silk Road, stretching four thousand miles from China’s Pacific Coast to the Mediterranean, was the apex of world commerce and power, the conduit for all that was valued and feared in both East and West – from silk and spices to horses and the bubonic plague.
And the most powerful, influential and cultured traders along this vital trade route were the Sogdians, an ancient people whose land – centered on Samarkand – stood at the dangerous crossroads of the Chinese, Ottoman and Arabian empires. Sogdian was the lingua franca of the Silk Road, and Sogdian merchants were cunning, clever and often very wealthy.
Nanidat Maniakh, a dashing young Sogdian trader, is enjoying the good life as the head of a powerful silk dynasty. Yet Fate has other plans: his world is suddenly torn asunder by murder and war, and the fate of his homeland hangs in the balance. Overnight, this able merchant must also become a cunning warrior and spy.
In a richly detailed narrative that spans the full breadth of Asia’s Silk Road, this exciting new trilogy by a Russian author who has been compared to Orhan Pamuk and Umberto Eco vividly recreates a lost world, yet its passions and characters are entirely relevant to the present day. Full of mystery, memorable characters, and non-stop adventure, The Silk Road Trilogy is sure to be a hit with lovers of historical fiction and international thrillers.
The three book titles are:
- The Pet Hawk of the House of Abbas
- The Pet Foal of the House of Maniakh
- The Pet Monkey of the House of Tang
These books have been bestsellers in Russia and our goal is to make them equally popular in English. But this is about so much more than just translating Russian words into English. It is about creating a linguistic and cultural translation that is true to the original yet a work of art in its own right, about crafting a fine product, bringing it to life and then helping it find its readers...
We have been publishing books, periodicals and more on Russia for over 20 years, and we love helping people discover writers and works they didn't even dream existed. This project is particularly intriguing. It brings together a bestselling Russian author who writes about Central Asia, is translated by a transplanted Brit living in Arizona, and is all being shepherded by a little private publishing company in Vermont.
We are excited to team up with the Kickstarter community again to make this trilogy a reality. This Kickstarter project seeks to raise $15,000, in order to cover the costs of translation and initial production costs of the first book in the series. We own the rights to all three books and we want to start bringing them to market next fall. Here's the book trailer....
If you join with us in this effort, you can get electronic or printed copies of the book(s) before they are released to the general public. Signed author copies are also on the menu (though we did have to put this reward at a rather high level, given all the costs of shipping finished books back and forth to Russia).
So please check out the rewards, sign up, and join us for an exciting journey along the Silk Road....
We've decided that, if (when) this project comes together, we want to recognize EVERYONE who has contributed to the book's publication on Kickstarter. So EVERY supporter will be recognized in the afterword to the book (unless you tell us not to print your name; we will be sure to get explicit approvals before printing). It may not make you famous, but it should make you proud... Spread the word!
Another excellent question. Aside from the fact that we have a hard-earned reputation for quality (with our magazine Russian Life and in the books, maps and journal we publish), the fiction we publish has been getting rave reviews and even national awards for quality.
Now you've gotten at the root of things. Sure, we could do things the way publishers have been doing it for years and we explain why we aren't doing it that way in a longer blog post, here:
But the short answer is that we think the "normal way" is broken, that publishing needs to change with the times, collaborating with readers to bring out books they are excited about and want to read. This is a test of that model.
Translation is an expensive venture if done right (and plenty are doing it badly), and we want to make sure this is a book people want to read before we proceed.
A really good question. Aside from the unique facts described in the video, you sort of just have to take our word for it that this is one of the finest pieces of historical fiction we have come across in years.
Well, we have been publishing non-fiction journalism about Russia for 20 years, and fiction and non-fiction books from and about Russia for just as long. For the last five years, we have been putting out the only regularly published journal of Russian fiction in translation (Chtenia - visit chtenia.com), so we've seen our fair share of what is out there.
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