John Calvin Batchelor's Peter Nevsky and the True Story of the Russian Moon Landing is a triumphant return to the epic grandeur of his earlier novels The Birth of the People's Republic of Antarctica and American Falls. Eight years in the making and based on long-rumored accounts of a Soviet manned mission to the moon launched prior to Apollo II, it takes on nothing less than the titanic contest of the Cold War, the never-to-be-repeated heroics of the sixties' space race, and the hopelessly tragic history of the Soviet Union. Peter is an orphan, the only son of Apollon Nevsky, the greatest air ace of the Second World War. As he begins his story, it is 1968, the eve of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. It is also the homestretch of the moon race, and Peter is freshly arrived at Starry Town (Russia's Houston Manned Space Center), a cosmonaut candidate who dreams of claiming the glowing white orb of the moon for Mother Russia. Exuberant, patriotic, loyal, he is nonetheless haunted by his patrimony. His father is one of the vanished, a hero of heroes slaughtered for his heroism by Stalin's henchmen. And now he is being watched - by the Chekhist thugs who dominate every aspect of Russian life and by a mysterious and powerful woman whose role in his life is darker and more deadly than he can yet know. At Starry Town, Peter falls under the influence of his three "uncles," known as the Martian Troika - his father's three bravest wingmen during the war. They are the heart, soul, and passion of the Russian space program. Peter's idols, they are ruthless men, though certainly no less ruthless than the forces pitched on all sides against them. Like Ishmael aboard mad Ahab's Pequod, Peter is both witness to and willing participant in the tragic and momentous events of the next year - culminating in his uncles' indomitable, doomed quest for the moon. Peter Nevsky and the True Story of the Russian Moon Landing is a story of Russia in our time.
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Used availability for John Calvin Batchelor's Peter Nevsky and the True Story of the Russian Moon Landing
May 1993 : USA Hardback
July 1996 : USA Paperback