Marya Morevna from Saint Petersburg is six years old when she first sees a bird come courting for her eldest sister’s hand.
Marya is her parents’ fourth child, born in the waning era of the Tsars, and the birds keep coming during the first, hungry years of the Russian Revolution. Marya sees them all arrive—one, two, three!—and disguise themselves as dashing young lieutenants before carrying her sisters off. When she grows to womanhood, she watches for a bird of her own… and she resolves to understand the nature of the magic she knows is coming to claim her.
So begins Catherynne M. Valente’s lyrical novel Deathless—available for a limited time as a free ebook—which infuses Slavic folklore into the early days of the U.S.S.R., mixing myth and gritty historical fact with exceptional finesse.