Read The Burned Tower by Marina Dyachenko Sergey Dyachenko Online


A truck driver on a lonely stretch of road, a hitchhiker, and an ancient curse -- a brilliant and moving tale, steeped in folklore, by the masters of modern Fantasy. In 1999 "The Burned Tower" was awarded the "Interpresscon" as the best short story of the year on the international SF-convention in St-Petersburg. Now, for the first time, in English....

Title : The Burned Tower
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 13102208
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 59 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Burned Tower Reviews

  • David
    2019-05-04 20:36

    Picking up everything I can get my hands on from Sergey and Marina Dyachenko, I feel like one of those snotty fans of obscure niche bands who pride themselves on being a fan before the band was "discovered." The Dyachenkos are big names in Russian SF&F, but thus far have only three works translated into English: Vita Nostra, The Scar, and the short story/novelette The Burned Tower.The Burned Tower was originally written in 1998, but has recently been translated and published by Tor. (You can download it for free: go get it!)The tone, and even aspects of the story, reminded me a great deal of Vita Nostra. An innocent young man named Guy, working as a truck driver transporting beavers (!) has an unfortunate encounter on the road, resulting in him having to take on board a sinister hitchhiker. This hitchhiker seems to be a classic Trickster figure, but it soon becomes evident there is another theme in this story, of punishment and forgiveness, as Guy is brought to a place where once a terrible crime took place.The story straddles the line between dark fantasy and horror. As with the full-length novels I've read by the Dyachenkos, there seems to be a lot going on beneath the surface and it's not always fully explained. They like teasing the reader with the dark undercurrents of a psychological thriller and mixing in a fantasy element. The whole thing is quite a mind trip.Because of its length, I was a bit unsatisfied; it felt like perhaps an early draft of Vita Nostra, with ideas developed more fully in that book. But it's still a moody piece of dark fantasy unlike anything you are likely to find Western writers writing today.If you found my reviews of The Scar or Vita Nostra intriguing, go download this 50-page freebie and see if you like it. If you enjoy it at all, I guarantee the Dyanchenkos' two (translated into English) novels are much better. I am hoping to see more of their extensive body of Russian-language fantasy translated into English, so I can say "I was a fan before they became big in the U.S...."

  • Sadie Forsythe
    2019-05-09 19:44

    This is the second piece I've read by Maryna Dyachenko and Serhiy Dyachenko. The first being Vita Nostra, which I loved (or I did once I'd sat on it long enough to figure out what the heck was going on). The Burned Tower didn't disappoint either. It's a creepy, modern folk tale using familiar mythical creatures to tell a thought provoking story of redemption and forgiveness. There is a fairly lyrical quality to the writing that only has a tendency to fall apart on occasion. However, I strongly suspect this lies at the feet of the translator or is simply a failure of two languages to smoothly transition from one to another. Either way, it's a pleasure to read. My only real complaint is that a lot was left unsaid. The reader is given enough hints to suspect things, but not always enough to know things. No doubt, this is purposeful on the authors' part, but as a reader it can feel a little unsatisfying. I'm fast becoming a committed fan of this duo. The only English translation of their work that I haven't read yet is The Scar, but you can bet it's on my To Be Read list (toward the top even).

  • Metaphorosis
    2019-05-03 00:49 3.5 starsGuy, driving through the forest to deliver caged animals, stops by the side of a road deep in the forest. There, against his better judgment, he picks up a passenger who has the look of the folkoric Piper he's been warned about. As he feared, the trip gets complicated.There's no question this story is Russian. Translated by one of the authors, it has the sound and the feel of recent Russian SFF, which gives it a wordy, slightly exotic feel in English. It's a bit strange that a Russian story revolves around a Pied Piper figure, but it works nonetheless. It's well written, moves smoothly, and deals nicely with some weighty moral dilemmas - avoiding both superficiality and heavy-handedness.The main flaw of the story is simply in its length. It would have been more effective as a shorter story, and not lost anything by it. Still, it's a pleasant sampler of what the Dyachenkos can produce, and worth picking up (free, by the way).

  • Jeff Miller
    2019-05-18 19:49

    I was not prepared for how good this story was and really it is closer to 5 stars. The use of the character of the Pied Piper seems quite strange from Western eyes, maybe there is a more developed Russian folklore involving him. Still though the story had a nice blend of folklore/fantasy and horror and as a short story was very satisfying in telling the story and not feeling cheated by only 30 or so pages.This short story was released for free and contains a chapter of the next novel to be released. This is smart business sense since I will really want to read it.

  • osoi
    2019-05-05 02:46

    Славный парень по имени Гай попал в затруднительное положение, а появившийся вовремя Крысолов предложил ему сделку: мол, поможет он парню, если тот пообещает довезти его до города. И поостеречься бы Гаю, ведь какие только страшилки не рассказывают о Крысолове – но нет, не отвертеться ему от сделки. И вышло так, что ехать им пришлось через Пустой поселок...«Горелая Башня» погружает в темный омут, толща болотной воды начинает давить на затылок с первых же секунд погружения. Дикая ситуация, в которой молодой фольклорист встречается с самым ярким представителем этого самого фольклора, и не знает, чего от того ждать, обмирает со страху, однако разглядывает своего попутчика с интересом. Страшные сказки и давние предания, проклятый Пустой поселок, странные сны и опасный Крысолов – сам себе на уме, вроде бы жестокий судья, а вроде и проглядывает что-то еще за всем этим. Да, флейтист так и остался загадкой для меня. Когда в книге есть место удивительному и не понятному до конца персонажу, это замечательно.Лейтмотив о всепрощении прошел мимо меня, хотя общая идея воплощена прекрасно, она предлагает сделать простому смертному выбор, который, казалось бы, доступен только богам. Но опять же, в целом повесть ничего не потеряла от того, что я сосредоточилась на деталях, пустив тему прощения (прежде всего самого себя) фоном. Удивительная ведь история, закольцованная на самом Гае.. но не для сегодняшнего дня.Историю о Крысолове я готова читать в любом виде, в любой даже самой нелепой интерпретации, потому что это одна из тех сказок, от которой каждый раз бегут мурашки по коже, но и оторваться от нее невозможно. И чем страшнее, изощреннее и жестче получается у авторов показать Дудочника, тем большее воодушевление у меня вызывает погружение в эти истории.К Дяченкам я отношусь с обоснованной опаской, что вызвано ранним знакомством с Vita Nostra. Но, в конце концов, если после чтения произведений автора меня еще месяц-два глючит – это совсем не значит, что его не стоит читать вовсе. Просто надо делать разумные перерывы, чтобы предыдущий опыт в голове утих и можно было погрузиться в совершенно новую историю без сопутствующих опасений.И снова спасибо рулетке, которая в этом туре выдалась удивительно мощной в плане открытий; на этот раз она раскрутила и закинула меня в новый мир. Уже второй случай, когда я возвращаюсь к ранее отвергнутым авторам по наущению госпожи Фортуны (первым был Мураками), и снова попадание в точку. Дудочник + Дяченки = роскошество

  • Mia Darien
    2019-05-13 18:38

    Sergey and Marina Dyachenko are solidifying themselves as some of my favorite authors. Their writing has this wandering, lyrical quality to it (even when their editors--at Tor, really, guys?--let them down) that you don't know where the story is taking you and you don't care, you're just glad to go along for the ride.As shorter fiction does to me, this one left me a touch more confused about everything that was going on...but then, so was the main character, so that may have been on purpose. I still really enjoyed it. It didn't get 5 like "The Scar" did because (like between Koryta's "The Ridge" and "The Cypress House") there wasn't that *something* in "The Burned Tower" that spoke directly to me. Egert's fear and everything that came with it spoke to me in the "The Scar," plus as longer fiction, it allowed for more build-up to an ending that I still remember with gasping awe.So, this one is still very good, and I'm definitely going to be keeping my eyes out for more of their work being translated. I already have "Vita Nostra" and am very much looking forward to it.

  • Ubiquitousbastard
    2019-04-29 00:41

    Wow, I adored this. That's kind of shocking, since I haven't loved something I've read in a very long time. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised since this book is the product of the authors, who wroteThe Scar, which I also loved.It was a bizarre little story, but I liked how it was just unapologetically weird. I also admit that I was completely absorbed in the raw emotionality that the Dyachenkos are so good at delivering. (Even in translations from the native language, so kudos to the translator as well). It helps get me caught up in what's happening, so much that I was almost one hundred ebook pages in when I looked to see how much I read, and was shocked and disappointed that I was almost done. Overall, I really need to read more from these authors, because this was an awesome literary gem and now I want more.

  • Sergio
    2019-04-24 20:38

    An effective little modern folk tale. I wish I was more familiar with the Russian or Ukrainian sources, but they aren't necessary. I'm aware of the Pied Piper of course, but the characters seems quite different.The story has a very strong Weird Tales vibe with a sense of suspended dread all the way to the end. I'm sure something was lost in translation, but this was still very creepy throughout, and the themes of loneliness and guilt come through. I'm not sure if it was intentional, but one aspect that worked very well was the very generic, unspecified location. Even before Guy meets The Piper, it wasn't clear to me where or when any of this was taking place. Even the translation of the protagonist's name to 'Guy' added to that sense of dislocation.I wasn't familiar with the Dyanchekos, but from the strength of this story I've added The Scar to my to-read list.

  • H.
    2019-05-21 02:38

    The Burned Tower is, like the Dyachenkos’ wonderful The Scar, essentially a fleshed-out fairy tale. Unlike The Scar, it’s a novella, not a full novel. This one leans on an existing tale familiar to Western readers—the Pied Piper. Set in presumably modern times, a college student driving a van full of beavers for delivery decides to cut a deal with the Pied Piper when he loses a valuable beaver (who better for rodent retrieval?). Of course he gives more than he bargained for.The Dyachenkos are Ukrainians who write in Russian. Their books have only recently begun to be translated and published in English. As for The Scar, the translation here is readable and poetic. Let’s hope both trends continue!The Kindle version also includes a preview of The Scar.

  • Shannon Mawhiney
    2019-05-04 22:48

    Because it's a translation from Russian (and well done, but still pretty obviously a translation), I do feel that I maybe missed some of what the story was trying to say. Despite this though, I enjoyed it. The Piper was unearthly and creepy (and exactly how I imagine someone of his supernatural persuasion would act), and poor Guy's story weaves from being about an average schmo driving a delivery van to a series of questions about heaven and hell, life and the afterlife, reality and monsters, and even time. I will definitely be keeping these authors in mind for future reading.

  • Sharon
    2019-05-08 00:29

    Not what I expected, but interesting.

  • Alice
    2019-05-05 23:28

    An eerie, modern retelling of the Pied Piper with elements of mystery and mysticism. The translation is quality but it remains a difficult read; it's so thick with symbols I imagine it's a challenge to even fully absorb the original. That said, it's still enjoyable even at the surface level. The writing, even translated, is gorgeous, and the imagery is darkly whimsical. Dyachenko effectively sustains an atmosphere that is ominous and dreamy with the feeling if one were trudging through a thick mist, especially as memories are depicted fading and flashing through consciousness.There's a horrific aspect to it too. Nevermind the Pied Piper's original tale, there are many gruesome scenes throughout this novella, and the I couldn't help but to feel the plot advancing steadily toward certain doom. (view spoiler)[ So, while I remained unimpressed by the climax (which was indeed horrific, but came off too melodramatic for me), I was pleasantly surprised to find the story end on a hopeful note. (hide spoiler)]But the ending wasn't enough. Like too many short stories, The Burned Tower asks questions it doesn't bother to answer (view spoiler)[(For example, Guy openly wonders about the nature of the curse, how the persecutors were punished, and where did they which the Pied Piper literally says, "Don’t ask stupid questions. That’s not for you to know." Perhaps it's just to emphasize how we'll never truly understand how karma and afterlife works, if they exist at all, or perhaps it goes to imply it doesn't matter. Or perhaps I'm just dumb. I dunno; the latter is often the case haha. Like I said, this is a challenging read.) (hide spoiler)]; in any case, it doesn't feel complete. I had difficulty identifying with Guy throughout the story actually, but at the conclusion we were one and the same: still bewildered, not quite satisfied, and left hanging. (view spoiler)[(Well, not really. He did wind up thanking the Pied Piper, having come to terms with his past and all, and he did secure a glimmer of hope that suffering be mitigated. Still, that didn't settle it for me.) (hide spoiler)] Keeping the possibilities open can be satisfying, but it was overly done here in my opinion. I'd like to know why the Pied Piper concerned himself with this particular case. I'd like to know if it were all, indeed, were just a dream. (Which I would be highly disappointed by, but still, I'd like to know.) Heck, I'd like to know what on earth was the morbid beast that was not a woman but a "but a blind tube, looking like the stump of a snake’s body and a bag of skin with a cluster of thin, jointed tentacles that had so believably simulated black human hair"--but then again, this is fantasy, so it may not be on earth at all.That's right. This is fantasy. So how much explanation should I ask of it anyway? Perhaps it would be more enjoyable to not think so much, suspend all belief.

  • Leah
    2019-05-14 20:38

    In the past few years I have gotten into Russian fantasy and sci-fi. The first author I was introduced to was, naturally, Sergei Lukyanenko. I loved all of his books and ever since I have read whatever new Russian fantasy/sci-fi recommendations I have gotten. I dont care what reviews they get, I will read them and make up my own mind about them. I have learned that foreign fantasy/sci-fi books and stories are often misunderstood or under appreciated by a lot of American readers.So when I was given a copy of The Burned Tower by Sergey Dyachenko, I leapt at the chance to read a new author. Even though it was short, this book is amazing. Dyachenko is a magnificent storyteller, he is so descriptive. In most short stories you get the gist of the story, but the details, like rubbery fish or feeling as if you are actually driving down the Rusty Track (the battered road to Lur).From now on Dyachenko is right up there on my favorite Russian authors with Lukyanenko.

  • Nadia
    2019-04-24 20:30

    Очень круто! Герой совершенно наш, хоть и не канонически черный. Вот ведь как! Для хорошей вещи не обязательно тысячу страниц написать. Иногда хватает и 80. Гаю очень сопереживаешь и настроение его очень заразительно, ведь не знаешь, что ожидать от Крысолова в следующий момент. Тот мир, который тут успели показать мельком, завораживает. И хочется прочитать что-то еще, что показало его более подробно и, может быть, с другой стороны. Вот эта живность на дороге и сразу вспомнившийся пропавший водитель. И сбежавшая нутрия... Все это было подстроено. Самое потрясающее в этой истории -- это то, что она вне времени. Это все могло случиться буквально вчера, а могло 50 лет назад, а возможно, что оно еще не произошло, а будет где-то в будущем. Интересная мысль про наказания. Я наказываю, но не прощаю. Прощает он. Все-таки интересно было бы узнать, как у них там с этим проклятьем получилось.

  • Kilian Metcalf
    2019-05-01 22:54

    This story was a bit puzzling. I think it was inspired by the Pied Piper of Hamelin originally, then set in a strange futuristic setting. I don't know whether it was my lack of imagination or something lost in the translation that left me scratching my head. A hired lorry driver transporting caged animals stops to pick up a mysterious hitchhiker and things happen. Then the hitchhiker leaves. The end.I loved their novel Vita Nostra, which earned one of the few five-star reviews I give. As a friend who read it on my recommendation said, 'It made my head explode.' Exactly. The Dyanchenko duo is still on my list of must-read writers, but I'm glad I read Vita Nova first.

  • Yuriy
    2019-05-15 19:47

    I listened about Дяченко, and I was happy, when I have readen "Rat-Catcher" in annotation.But I have not book about HIM and his relationships with peoples (Only with one man). It is the book about hateful peoples, their hurts...Rat-Catcher only navigator for main character and justice maker for all. But his methods not very good.Not good fantasy as fantasy, it like a winter folk story near fireplace.

  • Mary Davis
    2019-05-09 21:36

    Ok. I realize this is a translation from Russian, and so there can be some things lost in that process. But this was not an enjoyable reading experience. Since it was a short book, I tried to give it a fair shot. However, the language was stilted, the exposition awkward, the dialogue and the setting confusing, and the plot too predictable. So, it sits on my Not So Good Nook shelf. I'll end up deleting it.

  • Rob Hermanowski
    2019-05-24 00:44

    This is a novella that I read as a free Kindle download. It is by the same Russian husband and wife team that wrote the excellent fantasy novel "The Scar" (which I read and reviewed earlier). I am very impressed with their writing - this novella is more horror than fantasy, but is just as good as their longer fantasy novel. Definitely a pair to keep an eye on!

  • Hildegart
    2019-04-26 18:27

    To me, this short story was okay. There were confusing parts where I went huh? and some I even had to reread. This book did feel like a folk tale and because the authors are Ukrainian, their folk tales will be different than what I am used to. Also, this book was translated into English from Russian.

  • Sandra
    2019-04-29 22:28

    This is the third book I've read by the husband and wife writing team (The Scar, Roadside Picnic), and the most fairy/folk tale like. Very short, inhaled it in about an hour or so, and it will stay with me. A fable about forgiveness and the Pied Piper.

  • Craig
    2019-05-14 18:56

    I picked this up from Amazon for $0 on the kindle. First time reading anything from the Dyachechenkos. I will now pick up anything from them. Planning to get The Scar, when I finish what I am currently reading.The rhythm and characterization fantastic.Can't recommend highly enough.

  • Jeannette
    2019-04-28 21:50

    Loved it! A modern folktale with a powerful message: forgive others and YOU will be set free. Very well written for maximum suspense and it doesn't seem to have suffered any in the translation. Hoping to find something else by this author.

  • Kathryn
    2019-05-03 19:28

    The Burned Tower is a short story that fleshes out the legend of the Pied Piper. It was suspenseful and frightening and thought-provoking and compelling and I want more. Highly recommended for anyone who likes retellings/reimaginings of old tales.

  • ☆Joycedale☆
    2019-04-22 20:45

    I don't remember why I downloaded this book, or even when. It wasn't what I thought it be. There's a sudden plot change in the middle and it turns out completely different from where I thought it was going.

  • Julie
    2019-05-08 02:29

    so boring I was falling asleep. I made it to 33/96 and gave up.

  • Steve
    2019-05-02 22:35

    Interesting Russian fairy tale, with a modern twist. There are a few places in which the translation from Russian to English is shaky, but overall, a pretty good read.

  • Mr.j
    2019-05-20 22:35

    Bedtime readings. Interesting, fantastical in content, weird at parts.

  • Taylor
    2019-05-15 18:35

    Really quick read. A modern folk tale of sorts. I felt so sad for the main character's past. :( I thought it was very interesting, sort of creepy. I also liked the super natural feel of the book.

  • John
    2019-05-23 22:56

    This was very interesting. I like how everything unfolded as the whole mystery slowly came into focus. I will be looking for more by these authors

  • Raven Amos
    2019-05-11 20:27

    QuestionThere is one thing I do not understand - Why Guy needs to be forgiven too? And this must leave 20 words rule is dumb.