Valentin Viktorov (1909–1981)
USSR Is Birthplace Of Cosmonautics
First Cosmic Velocity – A Novel
Coming Summer 2019 from Putnam/Penguin
When Leonid’s twin brother is launched into orbit never to return, Leonid must pretend to be a cosmonaut hero of the Soviet Union in order to protect the terrible secret behind the space program and the lives of the people who keep it.
The year is 1964. Leonid is the fifth and final twin trained by the Chief Designer to take the place of a departed sibling. While the Chief Designer struggles to perfect a spaceship that can safely reenter the atmosphere, Leonid and Nadya, the first twin, travel the world heralding Soviet scientific successes. What Leonid finds instead, though, is regret, and a deepening sense of doubt concerning the whole endeavor. The Chief Designer’s secret, hidden even from members of his own staff, threatens them all with death should it ever be revealed. And a government agent, known only as Ignatius, seems to know more than she should.