The Age of Ice

J M Sidorova, Author
J.M. Sidorova. Scribner, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-1-4516-9271-6
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
Open Ebook - 388 pages - 978-1-4516-9273-0
Paperback - 978-1-4516-9272-3
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Sidorova’s sprawling debut opens in 1740 on the frozen Russian tundra, where twins Prince Andrei and narrator Prince Alexander Velitzyn are conceived under unusual circumstances. For her amusement, Empress Anna Ioanovna demands a wedding for the twins’ court-jester parents, whose nuptial bed is made of ice. “I was born of cold copulation,” relays Alexander, “white-fleshed and waxy like the crust of fat on beef broth left outside in winter.” The twins’ mother perishes after their birth and their father returns to Moscow unable to shake the stigma of his time at court. The Empress’s whim has a profound effect as Alexander grasps the startling reality that he is impervious to cold (anyone who attempts to get close will encounter a frosty exterior) . Keeping his secret, Alexander sadly drifts apart from his brother during their military duty. Searching for scientific reasons behind his physical anomaly, Alexander joins famed Captain Joseph Billings on an Arctic expedition. His physical abnormality acts as a preservative and carries him across the globe and through the centuries, where he has a chance meeting with writer Mary Shelley. Sidorova’s lyrical prose complements her protagonist’s fantastical tale of isolation on his mythic journey. Agent: Seth Fishman, Gernert Company. (July)
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