Books like this little-known book
February 16, 2011 3:17 PM   Subscribe

Bookfilter: I want to read books that are similar to "Saturn is almost invisible" by Vasily Ardamatsky.

I read this book (translated in English) several years ago (found it in an old book store that sold nothing but old soviet books), and have re-read it many times since. It is historical adventure fiction based around certain events in WW-II (one amazon review here).

Quote from review: "The book is a work of fiction based on some real characters in WW-II, particularly Wilhelm Canaris from AbWehr who forms a satellite military intelligence center "Saturn" in occupied Soviet territory to pin the blame for defeat, in case of the failure of German offensive. Soviet counterintelligence painstakingly infiltrates the center and gradually submerges it with disinformation which leads to catastrophic failure of German military intelligence on the central front. The novel seamlessly blends real historic personalities and situations with fantastic spy fiction."

Please recommend similar books. Bonus points if I can buy them in Sydney, but I am happy order through Amazon.
posted by vidur to Media & Arts (4 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You need to provide more information. What particular aspects of this book appeal to you? There are a zillion adventure novels about WWII.
posted by languagehat at 10:54 AM on February 17, 2011

Response by poster: Elements that I liked:

1. WW-II and USSR: I am a sucker for both

2. Espionage and counter-espionage: The book involves both elements for both sides, and is not one-sided Soviet propaganda. Both sides win some and lose some (though, of course, we know which side "won" finally and there is a kind-of open-ended closure).

3. Elements of real history mixed with a fictional story (done so well that someone new to the work might take it for real history).

4. Great balance between the big picture and the small details: the parts about Soviet spymasters and German spymasters do not take away from the details of individual spies and their operations. The short-term and long-term operations are also carefully balanced.
posted by vidur at 3:51 PM on February 17, 2011

Best answer: You just recommended this book in another question that I asked and it piqued my interest so I did a bit of googling on it and came across this paper (pdf). The paper analyzes one specific author (Viktor Dotsenko), but the first few pages provide an introduction to the genre, which from what I can tell, is Russian crime fiction by Russian authors. It specifically talks about dokumental'nyi (documentary) detektiv fiction and this is where your author and the book mentioned above comes up. Similar books are recommended, specifically:

Sword and Shield - Vadim Kozhevnikov (1965)
Seventeen Moments of Spring - Iulian Semenov (1968)
In August of Forty-Four - Vladamir Bogomolov (1974)

There are lots of other books mentioned in the paper that may be similar as well. I know nothing about any of these books, but they look like they might be promising. Good luck!
posted by triggerfinger at 10:18 PM on June 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: triggerfinger, that's brilliant! I can't imagine how I didn't come across that paper. Thank you so much! Marking this as resolved, and marking your answer as best. I can't thank you enough!
posted by vidur at 11:04 PM on June 1, 2011

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