Free Fall: A Sniper's Story from Chechnya

Free Fall: A Sniper's Story from Chechnya


By (author) Nicolai Lilin, Translated by Jamie Richards

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  • Publisher: Canongate Books Ltd
  • Format: Paperback | 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 210mm x 36mm | 458g
  • Publication date: 7 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1847679714
  • ISBN 13: 9781847679710
  • Sales rank: 82,352

Product description

Free Fall is a brutal but engrossing memoir of the Second Chechen War, through the eyes of a young Russian soldier. Nicolai Lilin was conscripted and then trained as a sniper in an unorthodox Russian Special Forces regiment called the Saboteurs. This elite band of men, which operated outside the purview of traditional military code, fought their way through multiple assignments, including guerilla warfare in inhospitable mountainous terrain and intense hand-to-hand fighting in urban areas. Along the way, the Saboteurs faced mercenary fighters, anti-personnel mines and torture of the most extreme kind. Both an immediate sequel to the author's previous book, Siberian Education, and a remarkable stand-alone memoir, Free Fall offers a unique perspective on one of the most controversial wars in living memory. Lilin writes with honesty and extreme cynicism, and with a sharp eye for the banality of evil. It is an unflinching, unforgiving and unputdownable read.

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Author information

Nicolai Lilin was born in 1981 and grew up in the small republic of Transnistria, which declared its independence in 1990 but has never been recognised. Nicolai left home to fight in the Russian army against the Chechens. He later lived in Ireland, before moving to Italy, where he continues to work as a tattooist. Siberian Education was a major bestseller in Lilin's home country of Italy and was published in the UK in May 2010 to critical acclaim. The author lives in Turin.

Review quote

Lilin's astonishing account of his life takes you into some very strange worlds; frightening, violent and yet with spirited moments of redemption which both offer hope and keep you reading ... a breath-taking memoir.' - Misha Glenny, Mail on Sunday [on SIBERIAN EDUCATION] 'Force yourself to forget about categories of good and evil, you have to just be there and read ... produces a thrill of pleasure that is hard to forget.' - Roberto Saviano, author of GOMORRAH, [on SIBERIAN EDUCATION] 'A marvellous and illuminating book ...This story makes most of what we call true crime writing seem insipid and effete.' - Irvine Welsh, [on SIBERIAN EDUCATION]