And now, the final part of our discussion of Radiant State, along with a small capstone for our discussion of the Wolfhound Empire trilogy as a whole. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Michal for caving in to my nagging and giving these books a try, as well as suggesting we do this collaborative review in the first place. If any of you out there are inspired to give these books a try, feel free to share your own thoughts about them in the comments below.
As for our final discussion, we narrow in on the final antagonist of the trilogy and discuss the ways he both does and does not conform to the image and personality of Josef Stalin. As someone with a more-than-casual interest in the life and memory of Stalin, I locked on to the “Kantor/Rizhin is Stalin” idea fairly early on, to the point of giving me a case of tunnel vision. It’s always good to have someone outside your head to give you some perspective.
Stalin, Stalin, wherefore art thou Stalin?
Alasdair: But even the Lodka cannot outrun Rizhin forever. As Lom searches the abandoned Lodka for Chazia’s secret archive, he is followed inside by Rizhin’s police agents, tasked by the President-Commander with demolishing the building. Despite the best efforts of the vyrdalak sisters, they succeed in their mission, and the Lodka, the final landmark of old Mirgorod, goes up in flames. And yet there is something curious about this event. In spite of the destruction of centuries worth of police files and confiscated artifacts, the novel emphatically describes the Lodka’s demise as “a good thing.” The immolation of the Lodka is another in the trilogy’s endless series of historical breaks, but it is one with a double meaning. On the one hand, it severs the last link Rizhin’s Mirgorod has with the Mirgorod of the Novozhd, the Mirgorod we were introduced to…
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