BookBrowse Reviews The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley

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The Half Life of Valery K

by Natasha Pulley

The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley X
The Half Life of Valery K by Natasha Pulley
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     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Jul 2022, 384 pages

    Mar 19, 2024, 384 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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About this Book



In a mysterious city deep within the Soviet Union, a biochemist and a KGB officer confront their pasts while uncovering diabolical truths at a secret research facility.

Siberia, 1963. Valery Kholkhanov is a gulag prisoner in the far, frozen reaches of the Soviet Union. Imprisoned for several years, the once esteemed biochemist is snatched from this bleak and hopeless existence one morning by a former academic mentor who gives him a chance to serve out his prison term in the mysterious town known only as "City 40." His task: to study the effects of radiation on the local animals and ecosystem. This intriguing premise, rife with foreboding, is the backdrop for an irresistible Cold War thriller in Natasha Pulley's The Half Life of Valery K.

Inspired by real events (see Beyond the Book), Pulley creates the closed city of Chelyabinsk-40 or, simply, City 40, an irradiated district with forests the color of rust nestled opposite a set of nuclear reactors. Within the city is the radioecological research facility residents call the Lighthouse. It is to this ...

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Beyond the Book:
  The Kyshtym Nuclear Disaster


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