The Restoration Game
259 pp • ISBN: 978-1-61614-525-5
There is no such place as Krassnia. Lucy Stone should know—she was born there. In that tiny, troubled region of the former Soviet Union, revolution is brewing. Its organizers need a safe place to meet, and where better than the virtual spaces of an online game? Lucy, who works for a start-up games company in Edinburgh, has a project that almost seems made for the job: a game inspired by The Krassniad, an epic folk tale concocted by Lucy's mother, Amanda, who studied there in the 1980s. Lucy knows Amanda is a spook. She knows her great-grandmother Eugenie also visited the country in the '30s, and met the man who originally collected Krassnian folklore and who perished in Stalin's terror. As Lucy digs up details about her birthplace to slot into the game, she finds the open secrets of her family's past, the darker secrets of Krassnia's past—and hints about the crucial role she is destined to play in The Restoration Game. . . .
Combining international intrigue with cutting-edge philosophical speculation, romance with adventure, and online gaming with real-life consequence, The Restoration Game delivers as science fiction and as a sharp take on our present world from the viewpoint of a complex, engaging heroine who has to fight her way through a maze of political and family manipulation to take control of her own life.
"[O]ne of our best exponents of near-future thrillers. . . . MacLeod is terrific at what he clearly knows well; the collision of the SF and political worlds over the past few decades and, especially, the sense of paranoia which underlay the unraveling of the USSR and its satellites. . . . A good science fiction novel is a simulation machine for changing the world, and this may be what Ken MacLeod is reminding us."
"You don't need to change everything to make our current reality appear exotic. Whether other writers can duplicate his trick while also aping MacLeod's mix of sly humour, deftly drawn characters, and intricate plotting is, of course, entirely another matter—this is a writer at the peak of his powers."