Rasputin's Bastards: epic, psychic cold war thriller

Rasputin's Bastards is David Nickle's latest book, an epic novel from one of horror's weirdest voices. During the cold war, the Soviets established City 512, a secret breeding experiment intended to create a race of psychic supermen. It worked far, far too well. The dreamwalkers of City 512 may have given lip-service to their masters, but in truth, they were occupied with their dreaming, the sleeper agents whom they could ride like loas, the succesive generations of dreamwalkers, each more powerful than the last, and their own power-struggles.

Now the cold war is long past, and the final act is upon the world. The Babushka, one of the great powers of City 512, has established a stronghold in a fishing village in the remotest northern reaches of Labrador. Her enemies are legion, and some of them don't even know what side they're on. The dreamwalkers have always had the power to trap their enemies in false identities and false memories, and the main characters of Rasputin's Bastards are never quite sure who they are, what has happened to them, what is real, and what is poisonous illusion.

Nickle's book is an enormous tale, bewilderingly complex, but with lots of twists and turns that reward close attention. It is grotesque, violent, and exciting, with a supernatural tinge that is his hallmark.

Rasputin's Bastards


  1. So, is this set in the present?  The title calls it a “cold-war thriller”, but the article itself reads “Now the cold war is long past, and the final act is upon the world.” Maybe both, since Cory describes it as an epic tale?

    Regardless, I have an odd affinity for the cold war – not to mention psychic warfare! – so there’s a good chance I’ll read it.

      1. I second that! Can’t wait ’til it comes out in July. Nazi Xmen, English wizards, so much fun.

  2. Just google for the history of spetsnaz and read how one of classified USSR projects was producing …. no, not genetically-modified people, 100% ethnic cubans, algerians, etc. These were to be trained and then dropped at their country of origin so that they will wreak havoc.  No fancy-schmancy stuff is needed, those were captured during (and after) WWII, sneaked into USSR and forced to marry their own kind. Their kids would be secretly recruted and trained for the future “mercenary” or “advisors” work elsewhere. Spain, Cuba, Middle East, Africa, China … I am not making this up. During the Cuban Missle crisis, for example, those “fake cubans” surprised even CIA, because they not only looked cuban and spoke spanish, they were cuban, though, they never been to Cuba … dustbins of history are full of stuff like this.

    Also, P.S. Would the writers please stop beating the “russian drum” and turn elsewhere with their fake russian vocabulary. Consulting wikipedia before writing would make all the difference in the world.

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