Stalin’s Russia, 1950.
Brilliant young artist Pasha Kalmenov is arrested and sent without trial to a forced-labour camp in the Arctic gulag. This is a camp like no other. Although conditions are harsh and degrading, the prisoners are not to be worked to death in a coal mine or on a construction project. Their task is to forge the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. There is a high price to be paid for failing to reach the required standard of perfection, particularly as the camp commandant has his own secret agenda. When the executions begin, Pasha realises that only his artistic talent can protect him. But for how long? Worse horrors are to come – if he survives them, will life still be worth living?
The Leonardo Gulag journeys to the sinister heart of Stalin’s regime of terror, where paranoia reigns and no one is safe, and in which the whims of one man determine the fate of millions. Ultimately, the novel presents a moving portrait of the indomitability of the human spirit.
Gold Winner in the prestigious Foreword Indies Book of the Year awards.
Praise for The Leonardo Gulag
The Leonardo Gulag is a bold, bracing, and brilliant take on the human side and costs of [the Cold War]. Kevin Doherty's starkly original tale . . . lives up to pop culture classics like Stalag 17 and The Great Escape, not to mention the best of Leon Uris and the Louis L'Amour classic Last of the Breed. This is a historical thriller of the highest order; smart, savvy, and sensational.
Jon Land, USA Today best-selling author of the Murder, She Wrote series
[The Leonardo Gulag] is an extraordinary novel with a fresh and unique premise – one that draws the reader into a world that’s both clever and imaginative. Bravo. Bravo.
Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author
[The Leonardo Gulag] is vivid, fresh, gripping, clever. This historical thriller set in a gulag in Stalin’s Russia thoroughly propelled me. With appearances from Stalin himself and Soviet spy Anthony Blunt, it feels authentic on every page. I felt I was there.
David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author
This relentless tale of cruelty and survival provides a sobering look at Stalin’s Russia. Fans of Kafkaesque historical fiction will be satisfied.
An inherently fascinating read, The Leonardo Gulag showcases author Kevin Doherty’s genuine and impressive flair for originality and the kind of narrative storytelling style that completely engages the reader’s total attention from beginning to end.
Midwest Book Review
I really enjoyed this book . . . There’s a . . . riveting storyline that had me glued to the pages.
A cracking read with authentic characters . . . It also provides a fascinating and dramatic insight into the era of Joseph Stalin’s vile forced-labour camps
James Raven, bestselling author and historian; also writes as J P Carter
Kevin Doherty’s trenchant novel, The Leonardo Gulag, is a frightening tale . . . There are a few scenes in literature that are etched in the reader’s memory forever, like Sophie in Styron’s novel, [Sophie’s Choice,] forced by the Nazis to make an unimaginable choice. Pasha’s desperation . . . in The Leonardo Gulag evokes a similar emotional response. [Doherty’s] novel throbs with confidence and outrage. The Leonardo Gulag is a surprise, a deeply moving, reflective tale. It is a great achievement.
David Rothenberg on WBAI Radio, New York City