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.
'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
Antonina W. Bouis