Novgorod the Great by Andrew Drummond

Book Review by John G Fagan | 22 Sep 2010
  • Drummond - Novgorod
Book title: Novgorod the Great
Author: Andrew Drummond


Andrew Drummond’s Novgorod the Great is an intriguing historical novel set primarily in Russia, but ambitiously broad in scope. In 1833, two travellers meet at an inn in the city of Novgorod the Great. This chance meeting between Ksenia, a young widow and Horatio, a merchant and former slave, produces a night full of tales about love, life and death between them and the numerous characters they meet. This is the most successful part of the novel, as the tales range into entertainingly bizarre areas. A second narrative in the novel follows the story of Ksenia’s deceased husband, John Dundas Cochrane, a former Royal Navy commander, as he reminisces with his disinterested father, Colonel Andrew Cochrane-Johnston, about his world travels and epic journey across Russia. At times Novgorod the Great lacks pace, especially when the story drifts into long internal monologues, and Drummond can also overuse adverbs in his writing. However, the main characters are well written and it is quite comedic at times – chapter titles such as, ‘Never mind London, he said, help me to piss,’ emphasise this. Overall, Novgorod the Great tells a good story and is an enjoyable read. [John G. Fagan]


Out now. Published by Polygon. Cover price £9.99