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BOOKS

The Madonna on the Moon

Rolf Bauerdick David Dollenmayer

RRP: £14.99

7 November 2013

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781848875043

RRP: £4.99

7 November 2013

Published by Atlantic Books

ISBN: 9781782391333

Sputnik, the Virgin Mary, a murder…

1957. In the secluded Eastern European village of Baia Luna, life orbits around church, work, home and the pub. This is very much the case for fifteen-year-old Pavel Botev – that is, until the seismic shift of world politics is felt even in his small community. When Communist party officials arrive and claim Baia Luna for the Soviet Union, Pavel’s schoolteacher commits grisly suicide. Piecing together her diaries, Pavel slowly unravels the tragic story of his schoolteacher’s affair with an ambitious party official and, on the very last page, he finds a single scrawled message – Send him to hell. Naturally, Pavel promises his dead teacher that he’ll do just that.

Meanwhile, crackled radio reports of the US-Soviet space race keep the villagers occupied and somewhat imaginative; when the statue of the Virgin Mary is stolen from the chapel, Pavel’s grandfather and his gypsy best friend assume the obvious – that the Russians have kidnapped it and sent it to the moon. It seems farfetched, but when the old man mysteriously disappears, it seems that maybe the Kremlin really has taken an extraordinary interest in an ordinary place, and only Pavel stands in the way…

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