The Age Of Ice by J.M. Sidorova, I am going to say upfront, is now one of my favorite books ever read. For a person who reads about a book a day, and has for many years, this is a major compliment.
The story of Prince Alexander Velitzyn is a fascinating one. A man conceived in the (real-life) ice palace constructed by Empress Anna Ioannovna, he was born to a disgraced nobleman and a disformed jester. As he grows alongside his twin brother, Andrei, he starts to realize that passion for him becomes cold.
Alexander, in his pursuit to find the answer to why he is immortal and his coldness, begins to live throughout many major events of the last 300 years. He participates in an expedition to find the Northwest Passage, defends Russia from Napoleon, and becomes a spy for multiple parties. Alexander, throughout it all, loved and lost so much. Some mocked him, some ran to him, and some betrayed him, but he had to march on. By the end, in modern times, he comes to realize the truth that he has waited for his entire life: He Is Ice.
The Age Of Ice captivated me. The imagery was presented beautifully, and the span over centuries worked well due to Alexander’s immortality. It was never answered in the text, but in the inference I took from the book, Alexander is immortal because of the particles slowing down in ice, and that makes it viable. It is not really science-fiction, but has hints of it, and is much more than a historical fiction. It is a masterpiece of a debut, and asks us to ponder the question of humanity itself. The Age Of Ice has the plot and theme to be a modern classic, and I believe will stand the test of time to become one of the great works of our era.
J.M. Sidorova was born in Moscow, when it was the capital of the USSR, to the family of an official of the Ministry of Foreign Trade. She attended Moscow State University and the graduate school of the Russian Academy of Sciences. She moved to Seattle, Washington, in 1990 and works as a research professor at the University Of Washington, where she studies aging and carcinogenesis.