Children in the City of Czars

Children in the City of Czars: A Novel

Children in the City of Czars: A Novel
A Lebedev Orphan Novel 1
Published by Serey/Jones Publishing
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Children in the City of Czars: A Novel (ISBN 9781881276296; 291 pages) 
E-book 9781881276302; audio book forrthcoming in 2024. 
OnSale date: 12/3/2023 on all online bookstores. 
Genre: General Fiction with Coming of Age and Family Life Themes. Intended for adults and older YAs.

Orphaned in the Post-Soviet Union era, the Lebedev siblings are alone in the underbelly of the most beautiful city in the world, St. Petersburg. Fedya is nearly thirteen and tries his best to keep his family together but fails. He surrenders his two sisters to the orphanage system and joins a ring of thieves. It’s not long before the gang has a run-in with the Russian mafia and Fedya becomes the focal point of a madman’s revenge, and a desperate race ensues for his life across Russia into Latvija. His sister, Elena, is brutally bullied at the orphanage and almost loses her life, while their youngest sister, Irina, is illegally adopted out of the country after a severe bout with whooping cough. Despite their circumstances, the siblings hold on to a quixotic hope to reunite. Whom can they trust? Possibly, no one. 

An early review from Francine Markowitz, Ph.D., author of Coming of Age in Post-Soviet Russia and Professor Emerita, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Ben-Gurion University.

Irmgarde Brown’s Children in the City of Czars brings readers into the turbulent lives of three orphaned siblings in the barely navigable, cynically cruel world of 1990s St. Petersburg following the unexpectedly disruptive break-up of the Soviet Union.  

This novel is not for the faint-hearted; nor is it for readers seeking heroes and heroines who find freedom, fortune and kindness by capitalizing on new educational, artistic and business opportunities in post-Soviet Russia. Instead, through her well-drawn characters, Brown shows how abandoned children, if not picked up by the police and deposited into unhospitable, cold and overly crowded Children’s Homes, drift into street gangs, often becoming victims of the drug trade and sex-trafficking. Juxtaposing the hideous experiences of one sibling living on the streets with the other’s desperation in an orphanage, Children in the City of Czars tells two complex and moving tales that come together at the book’s end but without resolving the protagonists’ fates.  Readers will want a sequel to this compelling story that offers deep insight into contemporary Russian children’s experiences of violent dislocation coupled with their desire for family and love.  

paperback | 320 pages | 6x9 | 9781881276296 | December 3, 2023