Too Many Wolves in the Local Woods, by Marina Osipova, is an historical fiction novel set in World War II Stalinist Russia at the outset of the Nazi invasion of the Motherland, and throughout the war years. The novel starts out slow, detailing the lives of two women, leading entirely different lives in different cities. One of them is trained as a spy and killer, destined to lead a double life in service of Russia; while the other woman takes a different path, but one which, by coincidence more than plan, also winds her up in the same spider’s net. Their paths eventually cross in the most unlikely, and in fact, shocking manner, and when they do, this story suddenly ramps up into a thrilling intrigue. While the threads of romance provide the humanistic link that pulls the reader along, there is another weave of brutality in this book that reminds us how terrible and shocking war really is – one that provides an inside view of Stalinist Russia, and the fascist Nazi invaders, and just how barbarous and callous both regimes were. One sees this war torn theater through the eyes of these two women, both loyal to Russia, and yet both torn by their circumstances, to the point where their patriotism is the death of their principles and self respect. The author has done a brilliant job of painting a picture of just how cold and pallid and Spartan was the existence of the Russian people, not only because of what the Nazi’s did to them during the invasion, but also because of the very nature of Stalin’s oppressive grip over their lives and their minds, one which created a world of deprivation in the name of a demented ideology – one that demanded, by fear and terror, their unabated loyalty. One sees, through the eyes of these women, that both Hitler and Stalin were equally mad, and equally destructive. We need more books like this, books that remind future generations to preserve unalloyed freedom and to ensure that tyrannical people and their divisive attempts to trade that freedom for something else, never sees the light of day again. This story will keep you transfixed, to the end, because you only really find out what happens in the final pages. A great read.
About Marina Osipova
Marina Osipova was born in East Germany into a military family and grew up in Russia where she graduated from the Moscow State Institute of History and Archives. She also has a diploma as a German language translator from the Moscow State Institute of Foreign Languages. In Russia, she worked first in a scientific-technical institute as a translator then in a Government Ministry in the office of international relations, later for some Austrian firms. For seventeen years, she lived in the United States where she worked in a law firm. Eventually, she found her home in Austria. She is an award-winning author and a member of the Historical Novel Society.
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