Red Corner, An Alternate History of Rus, A Novel – Release!

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The Book cover by artist Helen Wakeman

As I wrote about in my last post (below), my new book Red Corner, An Alternate History of Rus, A Novel is now available in stores for the release price of only 99c! At my own discretion I will then raise the price to $4.99c, which is the normal price.

If you want to find out a bit more about it, you can read my last post – or here’s the blurb:

Against the all-conquering Grand Duchy of Muscovy, can the city-state of Novgorod save itself from total annihilation and bring the land of the Rus towards the West? 

Medieval Russia, 1470: With Muscovy gaining hegemony in the Russian lands, Novgorod is fearful. Having miraculously defeated it in battle, Marta Boretskaya, mayor of Novgorod, needs allies from abroad to help her against Grand Prince Ivan III’s wrath and vengeance. She seeks help from Poland-Lithuania. A Lithuanian aristocrat, Prince Olelkovich, offers his hand in marriage to her – with a union between the two countries, Novgorod could hold the tide of the Muscovite barbarians from the east. At the same time, Ivan III is vying for the hand of , Zoe (Sophia) Paleologos, nephew of the last Byzantine emperor, Constantine, in order to strengthen his claim that his land is the new Rome and fight against the Ottoman onslaught in Europe. Red Corner, An Alternate History of Rus, A Novel is a story of murder, intrigue, love, loyalty, and greed set in a time when Russia had yet to be born and was only just beginning to find its national identity.

 

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Martha the Mayoress at the Destruction of the Novgorod Veche by Klavdy Vasiliyevich Lebedev, featuring Marfa Boretskaya, one of the main characters of ‘Red Corner, An Alternate History of Rus, A Novel’, my new book.

In the next few weeks I’ll be writing posts with little description snippets of the real characters who are in the book without giving spoilers. These will be Ivan III, the Grand Duke of Muscovy, Zachariah the Jew, Zoe (Sophia) Paleologos; I’ll also be describing two completely fictional characters, too: Oleg Menshikov and a minor character, Ivan Kokoshkin.

So here are the links to my ebooks.

The links:

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Red-Corner-Alternate-History-Novel-ebook/dp/B00LJ2HGHI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404895912&sr=8-1&keywords=red+corner+james

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Corner-Alternate-History-Novel-ebook/dp/B00LJ2HGHI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404896303&sr=8-1&keywords=red+corner+rus

Apple iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id896462285

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/Search/Query?fcmedia=Book&query=9781501419423

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/red-corner-james-dargan/1119916454?ean=9781501419423&itm=1&usri=9781501419423

Scribd: http://pl.scribd.com/book/232787547/Red-Corner

Page Foundry: http://www.inktera.com/store/title/98c0ef2e-3a83-4a14-8d86-ca8cf76d6ba4

Happy reading!

Novgorod the Great!

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An icon painted in Novgorod in the 1300s of Saint George and the Dragon.

 

I’m just about ready to release my alternate history novel, Red Corner, An Alternate History of Rus, A Novel, which I have been working on sporadically for the last ten years or so. The story’s set in the city-state of Novgorod, Russia, in the early 1470s. Now, when I say Russia, this is not exactly true – Russia only came into existence in 1547, when Ivan Vasilyevich (The Terrible), was crowned Tsar of all the Russias, becoming Tsar Ivan IV, or Grozny (The Terrible). Before this time, the land was in fact made up of many city-states and principalities, the Republic of Novgorod and Muscovy being two of the most powerful.

My interest in Russia, particularly medieval Rus, circa 1000-1500, has its roots in my childhood. The definitive reasons for it are still a mystery to me, though this passion was solidified when I moved to Poland from the USA in 1998. As a neighbour to Ukraine and Russia, its geographical proximity stoked my interest even more. Polish history is intricately connected to that of Russia (A section of Poland was part of Russia for nearly 150 years, ending only in 1918), even though many Poles despise this. After reading countless books on the subject of medieval eastern Europe – especially the works of British historian Norman Davies – I set out in my own mind to recreate those times in a story. I didn’t fancy writing about something that had already happened and I knew alternate history was a genre that had always piqued my interest. Philip K. Dick’s The Man in the High Tower and Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union are two books in the genre that I really enjoyed. Now, in no way do I believe my own story will outshine those in literary merit, but if readers think it’s at least half as good as them, I’ll be happy.

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The novel is about Novgorod’s war with Muscovy. In 1471 Muscovy defeated Novogord at the battle of Shelon River, ending the republic’s independence. For centuries before Novogord had been an independent, democratic (if that word can be used) state full of free-thinkers. It was known for its trade and commercial connections with the West, and in particular the Hanseatic League in northern Germany. The Grand Duchy of Muscovy, in contrast, had a barbarian Asiatic mindset. Two-hundred years of Tatar rule had done nothing for it in the way of democracy.

In my version of Russian events, Novgorod defeats Ivan III’s Muscovy and brings about a turn in the history books. Professor Norman Davies once said – and I am quoting him loosely here from his Europe, A History: ‘What if Russia had been led by Novgorod instead of Muscovy, what now would Russia be like? I don’t need to guess what he’s getting at: all Russia’s woes, violent history and suffering are down to Muscovy. Maybe this is not wholly true, though I believe had Novgorod gained hegemony in medieval Rus, the country today would be far less totalitarian in outlook and be more akin to countries like Poland or Hungary, and with no room for a man like Vladimir Putin.

Love, intrigue and war course through the book, so too are the characters: from thieves to battle-hardened warriors, kings, grand dukes, mayoresses, tinkers, philosophers, religious quacks, lotharios, and psychopaths. If you like historical fiction, and fancy learning something about the Russia of more than 600 hundred years ago, maybe you should give Red Corner, An Alternate History, A Novel a go.

I am releasing the book in the next two weeks at an introductory price of 99c/77p till I raise it to its normal price of $4.99 and the UK equivalent.

It will be available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, Scrib, and the Apple iBookstore as well as other ebook stores in ebook format, and later as a paperback.

Map below shows Rus at the time Red Corner is set.

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