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Translated by Jamie Richards
A unique and remarkable war memoir by an internationally acclaimed author.
Free Fall is a devastating account of the Second Chechen War, told through the eyes of a young Russian soldier. Nicolai Lilin was conscripted and then trained as a sniper in an unorthodox Russian Special Forces regiment called the Saboteurs.
Together, this elite band of men, which operated outside traditional military codes, fought their way through multiple assignments, including guerrilla warfare in inhospitable mountainous terrain and intense hand-to-hand fighting in urban areas. Along the way, they faced mercenary fighters, anti-personnel mines and torture of the most extreme kind.
Both an immediate sequel to the author’s previous book, Siberian Education, and a superb stand-alone story in its own right, Free Fall offers a unique perspective on one of the most controversial wars in living memory. Lilin writes with honesty and extreme cynicism, and with a sharp eye for the banality of evil. It is an unflinching, unforgiving and unputdownable read.
As well as being a cracker of an adventure story, the book also offers insight into
the psychological disintegration of war as seen through the eyes of a stoic but
This is a true story, a follow-up to Nicolai Lilin’s Siberian Education, but it reads like something from Kafka or Dostoevsky…A personal tale, often grimly ironic, also one that mirrors the story of post-capitalist Soviet Russia.
‘The memoir…compellingly strings together memory fragments in appallingly
graphic, well-told set pieces.’