Daughter of Thieves

My first novel, co-authored with my longtime friend and unbiological sister, Stephanie Erbesfield. You can find her here.

Elena Kozlova, a sixteen-year-old student at the prestigious Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow, has been raised by her uncle, Vladimir Zorin, and brother, Alexei Kozlov, both of whom are members of the vory v zakone, or the thieves-in-law, Russia’s most dangerous criminal entity.

She has just moved into a new apartment that was gifted to her by her brother, who lives in Pittsburgh, and her Uncle Vova, who frequently travels. She heads to class at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy, where she watches a man commit suicide on the subway after New Year’s. The experience jars her fragile and protected mind, and she gets into a fight with another student after a verbal altercation. Elena goes to spend time with her friend Pasha after school, and later that evening, decides to walk home. Several blocks from her apartment, she is stopped by destitute vagabond Kirill Fyodorov, who threatens her with a knife. The pair chat as Elena hands over all her valuables and then, they share a kiss, which leads to so much more.

Daughter of Thieves combines elements of a traditional Russian text, like Anna Karenina, and a contemporary organized crime novel, such as The Godfather. It will also appeal to fans of Donna Tratt’s The Goldfinch. The brutality of life in Russia and suffering of its people are keys to classic Russian literature. The fall of the Soviet Union may bring welcome changes, but the tragic human condition that affects the characters in stories like Anna Karenina is present in this modern tale. Like Anna, Elena is pulled from her happy, albeit boring and complacent life, into a catastrophic relationship that leads to her fall from grace. Heavy drug use and organized crime adds to the tragedy of the protagonist and her shiftless lover, who is more than happy to continue a life of petty crime.

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