(Михаил Ахманов) is the pen name of Mikhail Nahmanson (b. May 29, 1945), a Russian science fiction writer with genres ranging from Space Opera
(with a wide range on Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness
) to Alternate History
. Many of his characters are modern-day people (usually soldiers) who somehow find themselves in a Fish Out of Temporal Water
- The Ratcatcher series (1999-2001)
- The Ratcatcher introduces a St. Petersburg mathematician named Dmitriy Horoshev who finds himself involved with a psychotronic weapon, left from the old Soviet days, which allow one to, essentially, Mind Rape other people using various means. Everybody is after the weapon, from government agencies to The Mafiya and secret societies.
- A Rich Man's Jokes continues the story of Dmitriy Horoshev who ends up carrying a secret which the CIA, the FBI, and The Mafiya all want. The name comes from the proverb, "A rich man's jokes are always funny."
- Arrivals from the Dark series (2005-2011) is a Space Opera notable for not having a single protagonist for all five books. Instead, the books follow members of a certain family who play key roles in shaping humanity's future in the galaxy through the centuries. There is, however, a secondary character who appears in all five books.
- Invasion starts at the end of the 21st century. Humanity is successfully expanding into the rest of the Solar System with the Space Navy numbering dozens of warships. However, the humans' entire arsenal turns out to be useless against a single alien starship. The Bino Faata, who came from the dark, have their own ideas about the future of Earth. It is to become their mining base and a source of slaves. The opinion of the natives is irrelevant. Lieutenant Commander Pavel Litvin finds himself aboard the massive starship and has a unique opportunity to foil the enemy plans. And Litvin finds he has unexpected allies.
- Counterstrike. It has been over 30 years since the Alien Invasion was repelled. The ruined Faata starship has been extensively studied, resuilting in enormous strides in human technology, finally granting humanity access to the stars. It's time to pay the aliens back for the millions killed in the attack. Mighty cruisers are preparing to cross dozens of parsecs in order to take the fight to the enemy. However, the humans' true weapon is not plasma throwers, battle robots, missiles, or Space Marines. Star Fleet officer Paul Richard Corcoran is a Half-Human Hybrid, able to see things before they happen, as well as send and receive thoughts. Coupled with the firepower of the fleet, these abilities will allow humanity to kick the Faata out of the Orion Arm back to where they came from.
- Fighters of Danveyt takes place after the end of the devastating, long wars with the Faata, resulting in a stalemate. Most of ships of the mighty Earth fleet are mothballed. The veterans can finally return home. But many instead choose to use their skills earned during the wars and sign up as mercenaries to the mysterious Lo'ona Aeo, a race who no human has ever seen. The mercenaries are tasked with defending Lo'ona Aeo sectors from Dromi pirate raids. Sergey Valdez is one of the mercenaries and is the captain of a small three-man patrol ship called the Lancelot. While answering a distress call from a Lo'ona Aeo freighter, the Lancelot crew fights off a Dromi raiding party to discover that the freighter carries a living Lo'ona Aeo, who are so xenophobic they can't stand to be in the same room as an alien. However, the beautiful alien female makes an exception for Sergey, not only as gratitude for the rescue but because she senses something different about him, namely his not-quite-human ancestry. After all, he is descended from Commodore Paul Richard Corcoran.
- Dark Skies. Humanity is at war with the vast Dromi empire, desperate to hold their own against the fast-breeding aliens who know no fear. A Dromi clan invades three human colonies on the edge of The Federation space. The human attempt at retaking the T'har colony ends in a complete disaster, as the task force is obliterated by the much larger Dromi fleet. Space Fighter pilot Lieutenant Mark Valdez is the only survivor of that battle. Finding himself on T'har, his homeplanet, he sees that his friends and loved ones are still fighting the invaders, refusing to give in. He joins La Résistance and realizes the only hope the T'harans have is an old cache of weapons forgotten after the wars with the Faata.
- The Gates of the Galaxy continues the war with the Dromi, which has been going on for over 50 years. Human casulaties are in the millions. Finally, humanity gets a chance to end the war in one fell swoop by destroying the enemy's ruling clan. But that requires reaching the Dromi homeworld via the previously-unavailable interstellar tunnels of the Daskins. The strike force is headed by Commodore Olaf Peter Trevelyan-Krasnogortsev, a brave warrior known for his many victories. However, the strike force is joined by Mark Valdez, one of the twelve Arbiters of Justice (and the Commodore's ex-brother-in-law), whose orders are to be followed by anyone from private to admiral.
- Good Will Mission (co-authored by Roman Karavayev) has Eric Trevelyan being sent as part of an ambassadorial mission to the Haptors, who are still bitter about losing the war against the Earth Federation. After finding himself imprisoned, Eric realizes that his task is much more serious than simply establishing cultural and trade ties. The fates of humanity and its allies depends largely on Eric's force of will and bravery, as the Haptors are determined to find the Lords of Emptiness, spelling doom for the galactic races.
- Trevelyan's Mission (2005-2013) takes place in the same universe as Arrivals from the Dark, about 500 years after The Gates of the Galaxy. Unlike the other series, this one is not a space opera and is more focused on exploring various alien cultures and solving mysteries. The protagonist of all four novels is Ivar Trevelyan, a researcher specializing in pre-Renaissance humanoid cultures.
- Envoy from the Heavens has Ivar travel to a planet called Osier, populated by Human Aliens whose society has been stuck in the Middle Ages for over 1000 years with all efforts by human progressors to secretly nudge the Osieran development being in vain. The stability is reinforced by The Empire, a nation stretching through most of the inhabited continent of Osier. It's up to Ivar to go amongst the natives as a Wandering Minstrel to find the cause of the stagnation. Ivar's only companion is a personality chip programmed with the memories of his long-dead ancestor, Commodore Olaf Peter Trevelyan-Krasnogortsev.
- The Faraway Saikat involves Ivar being sent to a Kni'lina Space Station in orbit of a planet populated by two humanoid species, one bent on exterminating the other. Ivar's greatest challenge, however, will not be dealing with the primitive natives of Saikat. He will have to deal with the Kni'lina, an advanced race of Human Aliens who have fought humanity in the past and still harbor them ill will. Now, it's up to Ivar to solve the mystery aboard the station before the Kni'lina succumb to internal strife and endanger the mission.
- The Missing Link. On the way to the unpleasant planet Inferno to deal with the local cannibalistic nomads, Ivar's ship receives a distress signal, and he discovers a rogue planet in deep space containing enormous danger as well as secrets to his own past.
- The Sword over the Chasm has Ivar finally reaching Inferno. The planet's unofficial name is apt, given it's extremely inhospitable climate and even less hospitable natives. The Foundation's efforts are about to be destroyed by an invasion of a horde of nomadic cannibals who have somehow managed to cross an impassable mountain range. It's up to Ivar to figure out a way to stop the nomads and put them back where they belong, while discovering which method they may have used to cross the mountains. This discovery may change the future of humanity.
- Consul Trevelyan. Ivar gets to try out the newest method of transfering a human mind into the bodies of alien beings. He experiences the results on his own skin, or rather his own chitin armor, mandibles, antennae, spurs and other physical attributes of sentient spiders native to planet Arhang. Ivar's task is to save a colleague, trapped on this giant world, as soon as possible, as the fate of the galaxy hangs in the balance.
- The Filibusterer duology (2004-2006)
- The Filibusterer: The Caribbean (originally, The Filibusterer). Andrey Serov has been many things in his life, including a circus performer, a member of the special forces, a businessman, and a private investigator. All this pales in comparison when he finds himself aboard a ship in the Caribbean three hundred years ago, surrounded by cannons, sails, and rum-filled pirates.
- The Filibusterer: Maghreb (originally, The Raven). After many adventures, Andrey has become the captain of the pirate frigate Raven under the name Marquis André de Serra. However, neither the glitter of gold, nor the adrenalyn-filled raids and boarding actions have added meaning to his life. He wants to take his frigate to Russia to serve Peter the Great, who is in dire need of able seamen in his war with the Swedes. However, the journey from the Caribbean to the Baltics is not an easy one. However, after a storm and an attack by the Maghreb pirates, Andrey has to delay his journey north indefinitely, as the raiders have captured many of his friends, as well as his wife.
- Dwellers duology (1996)
- The Scythians Feast at Sunset. The ex-Spetsnaz Kirill Krachev had no idea when getting hired by the Salvation firm that he would be taking rich clients on tours of alien worlds. The guide has amazing adventures on the planet of brave amazons and then on the mysterious and scary world of Frir Shadris. However, his greatest adventure awaits him back on Earth, where there are terrible dwellers in the mist.
- Stranger from Afar. Ri Varrat is a stranger from the stars. He has come to find and stop the mysterious aliens stealing individuality and soul from the inhabitants of peaceful worlds.
- Dick Simon duology (1998-1999) takes place in The Verse where the majority of humanity has left Earth for other worlds, taking not only their cities but also typical human failings with them. Shortly after the Exodus, Earth has been cut off from the galactic community by persons unknown.
- Wind's Shadow, Dick Simon's warrior name obtained through blood and sweat on the planet Tayahat, populated by tribal four-armed Human Aliens. After being raised by them, Dick leaves to join the interstellar special forces, using a mix of the skills gained both in the jungles of Tayahat and the classrooms of the academy. He becomes one of the best agents, often sent on the most perilous tasks, such as preventing an escape on a prison world or stopping a rogue general on the planet Latmerica.
- Earth's Shadow. It has been 300 years since humanity has settled the stars. The inhabited worlds are joined by hyperspace tunnels. But there are Closed Worlds, one of which is Old Earth, humanity's cradle. It is up to Dick Simon to travel to Earth and try to set things right. Surviving what is now a Crapsack World will require Dick to use every ounce of his training.
- The Slaughterer duology (2008) introduces a man named Pyotr Deutsch whose job title is "the Slaughterer", which surprisingly well describes what he does, which is traveling all over the world, tracking down and executing murderers, rapists, bastards, and freaks of all colors, who have suddenly decided that they can do whatever they want. Simply because they're vampires. And that there's more and more of them every day.
- The Ammo Never Runs out, or a Vampire Hunter's Notes
- Cuba, My Love
- The Trailblazer duology (2003)
- The Habitat. Pavel is a man from the 21th century. He is dying, as well as his entire world. However, he somehow finds himself in another body, in another time. He realizes in horror how much future humans had to sacrifice to survive. The inhabitants of the underground cities have no memory of the past, no goal for the future, and no blue skies over their heads. All that was left on the mysterious Surface. Pavel, an alien to this world, is not going to accept the status quo. He will reach the Surface.
- The Libyan. Andrey, known as the Libyan lives in the distant future. Humanity has solved all its problems, has settled the Universe, gained unlimited power, and even attained immortality. However, for those like Andrey, life of satisfied supermen is boring. Without memories of the past, there's no future, no responsibility, and no conscious choice. That is why the Libyan constantly sends his consciousness back in time to relive the eras of war, blood, and injustice. By living through more and more mental livetimes, he slowly restores the history and culture of the peoples who left degraded footprints all over Earth's past.
- On the Other Side of the Sky duology (2004-2005)
- The Way South. Russian Army Colonel Georgi Odintsov finds himself on another world, the Medieval world of Iden. Similar to Earth at that time, Iden features battling armies of powerful empires, ships sailing the seas, beautiful cities with palaces and temples. This world is full of dangers and secrets. It still has undiscovered lands. Odintsov, an adventurer at heart, likes it there. He also likes that he is once again young, strong, and loved. However, strange items of non-Medieval origin cause Odintsov to seek answers to Iden's most important secret on the faraway Southern continent. But no one has yet to reach it.
- The Oceans of Iden. Unlike the Medieval Northern continents, the Southern continent of Iden is ruled by a mysterious, powerful civilization, separated from the northern barbarians by an impassable equatorial current and centuries of technological progress. Colonel Odintsov, being an adventurer and thrill-seeker, sets off on a dangerous quest to the South. However, he is shipwrecked after only a hundred miles, and is forced to fight to stay alive against the cannibalistic inhabitants of the island, which causes him to rethink his plan.
- Call of the Abyss duology (2010-2011)
- Call of the Abyss. Laura Torres is a psychologist and a member of the first manned mission to Mars. Suddenly, she starts to receive telepathic messages from the depths of space. Strange visions, filled with fragments of Earth's history, shift her consciousness to Ancient Egypt, to the Middle Ages, to our time. Could it be a coded message from another civilization? To figure it out, Laura has to finish "watching" the visions. The first of these tells of adventures of an Ancient Egyptian man named Un-Amun.
- First after God. Two hundred years have passed since the first recorded messages from space. Few of the strange visions have been decyphered, as humanity simply lacked sufficient knowledge to do that. Finally, a newly-discovered alien race helps humanity discover the details of the adventures of an English captain named Peter Shelton. The brave adventurer had fought the Spaniards and the pirates of the Caribbean, crossed the South American jungles to reach the Incan treasures. But what to a 17th century sailor would be just gold and gems, to the scientists of the 23rd century, it was a treasure of a different kind.
- Alexey Kargin the Mercenary duology (2001-2003)
- The Mercenary. Alexey Kargin has served in the Spetsnaz and the French Foreign Legion. He is the best in his field. Now he finds himself as a bodyguard of the elderly Patrick Halloran, the head of a powerful weapons manufacturing company. Halloran's private island in the Pacific is a paradise. However, Halloran's name is connected to a secret going back to World War II. In order to protect himself and those who trust him, Alexey has to uncover this secret.
- The Heir. By a twist of fate, Alexey Kargin becomes the heir to the powerful corporation making all sorts of weapons. Alexey would much rather have a simpler life. However, one does not simply leave the arms business. Especially since Russia is also heavily interested in the corporation, and Alexey loves his Motherland. It is again time to jump into another adventure to discover a secret and survive.
- The Chronicles of Jennak duology (1997-2007)
- The Other Half of the World. Crown Prince Jennak was born in Eipon, the cradle of humanity, in a great city, where sharp deadly steel swords are forged and proud ships are launched. Imbued with the gift of longevity, the Prince becomes the victim of a treacherous betrayal, loses his loved one, and fights with the warriors of bloodthirsty tribes. His path is made up of difficult trials. Such is the price for the right to be called the Chosen of the Gods.
- The Prince of Eternity. The world of Jennak, the Prince of Odissar and the ruler of Britaya, is similar to Earth, but its human civilization began not on the Mediterranean shores but in Eipon, on the American continents. It is there that the great cities are built on high mounds with roads stretching between them, there that steel swords are forged, cannons are cast, and bird-like ships are launched, there that the people worship the merciful gods. Those gods have made Jennak their Chosen, granting him unnaturally long life. But only after becoming a man does Jennak realize that divine gifts are a heavy burden to bear and impose a great responsibility on him. He, the Chosen One, must save his world from devastating war, false prophecies, and greedy warlords. Fulfiling his purpose, Jennak wanders the world and fights, loves and hates, loses and finds. For the greatest of the finds, the Fifth Tablet of Kinar, he must pay with the blood of his friends.
- Kononov the Barbarian (2003). Kim Kononov is the writer of yet another sequel to Conan the Barbarian. He is slowly beginning to lose touch with reality, and starts to see the world through the eyes of his almost-namesake and performing actions worthy of the fierce Cimmerian. And when the author's brain becomes a home to an intergalactic traveler named Trixy, granting his host nigh-unlimited physical abilities, one should pity the enemies of the timid writer.
- Turn Around, the Aliens Are Near! (2005). The author explores the future of humanity and potential connections to extraterrestrials. The book looks at several facts and hypotheses.
- Captain French, or the Quest for Paradise (1998; co-authored by Christopher Nicholas Gilmore). While the description of the book claims it's a Space Opera, the novel actually lacks certain things one would associate with the genre, not the least one being Space Battles. The authors try to be on the harder side of Mohs Scale of Science Fiction Hardness in this novel, despite the presence of interstellar travel. While spacecraft do indeed perform near-instantaneous jumps to other systems, it is most definitely not Faster-Than-Light Travel, as relativistic effects are present (the jump lasts decades, if not centuries for those planet-bound) and the main effect is key to the story. There is no Federation or an Empire, as the nature of interstellar travel means any sort of interstellar government is impossible. Space travel is a rarity and only done by colonists and space traders, of which the titular protagonist is one. He is the first of only a few hundred space traders and is also the oldest man in the galaxy (he's actually only 2000, but constant jumps mean he was born 20,000 years ago, Earth time). Breakthroughs in medicine have resulted in a treatment that stops aging in its tracks and is available to most. Much of the book is devoted to expositions either through internal monologues by the protagonist or as conversations with others, especially his new wife. No matter how many planets humans settle, we will never change our ways and are condemned to repeat the same mistakes over and over. The novel pays homage to many great sci-fi novels of the 20th century (e.g. one of the planet visited is a water world named Solaris), and an appendix at the end of the book notes all the references for those who missed them.
- Assyrian Tanks at the Gates of Memphis (2008). The fastest things to undergo change in this world are weapons. Just a few millennia, and the sword and the chariot are replaced by machineguns and tanks. The slowest thing to change is human nature. If the soul is black, if it desires another's blood, then even centuries of civilization can't change it. But if it has bravery and love, then even the worst hardships won't force a man to run away or betray. No matter what enemy he has to fight. Be it with the Germans near Moscow or with the Assyrian soldiers airdropped at the foot of the Egyptian Pyramids. Which means, "Get up, the land of Amun Ra, fight to the death, defeat the Assyrian disease, the cursed horde!"
- Window to Europe (2010). Grand Prince Vladimir the Great of Kiev and his boyars rule all of Russia that stretches from Carpathia to the Kurils. By the will of their sovereign, the people must reject the old gods Perun, Veles, Svarog, and Yarilo, and accept a new religion, chosen by their rulers. One of the three: Egyptian, Latin, or Judeic. The Grand Prince and the aristocracy believe that this will improve the ties with the civilized Europe and aid trade and future conquests. But the people are of a different opinion. By chance, Sotnik (commander of 100 men) Hailo Odihmantyevich of the Grand Prince's guard becomes involved in this affair. He is an experienced and honorable warrior, who served as a mercenary in Egypt, where he destroyed several Assyrian tanks. Now Hailo protects the Grand Prince's palace in Kiev. He has sworn fealty to the sovereign and is fiercely loyal to him. He has fought the enemies of Russia, but must he destroy the people of Russia who have risen up against the Grand Prince? Who are these rebels: the protectors of the public good, or merely schemers making a grab for power? Whose fault is all this? And what should he do? Another reality, another Earth, another Russia, but the problems are still the same.
- Pharaoh's Guard (2001). Ancient Egypt. The rule of the legendary Queen Hatshepsut. The country quickly theatens to fall into a chasm, where it's being pushed by the conquering ambitions of the pharaohs. Suddenly, a man named Senmen, brother of Senmut, appears in the Nile valley, and the wheels of history begin to turn back. Nobody guessed that the savior of Egypt is actually named Semyon and that he is from a faraway northern city built millennia later on the shores of the Neva.
- Soldier of Fortune (2001). Not every soldier of fortune can brag that the fickle Lady Luck favors him. Dart, a fearless envoy of the dying Anhab race, can. He deservedly carries the title of Twice-Born. In his first and second lives, be it on the small streets of Paris at night or on faraway planets of the infinite space, he has always come out the victor. But can he sucessfully complete this new assignment from his overlords?
- I, Alien (2002). An entire country has disappeared from the face of the Earth. There was no earthquake, no fiery lava flows, no biblical Flood. Quite simply, the area that used to be called Afghanistan was no more. Anyone sent to investigate the dead zone disappeared without a trace. Only one man managed to uncover the secret of the Catastrophe. UN agent Arsène Izmailov finds out that great trouble has come to Earth from space. A tragic paradox of the situation was that Izmailov's real name was Affa'it, and that he was an alien sent to Earth as an observer.
- The Charmer of Djinn (2006). A modern-day man suddenly gains enormous power, the kind that no one has ever had before. Now he has to decide what to do with this power. Should he avenge all the wronged and the humiliated, should he give to those who deserve it, should he impose justice and eternal peace on Earth?
- Deathworld 7: Enemies in Reason (2001). The latest sequel to the Deathworld series by Harry Harrison (whether or not the latter had any input is debatable). The envoys of the powerful Roog civilization got extremely lucky, when they accidentally abduct Jason dinAlt out of all the Pyrrhans for study. After all, he's the only inhabitant of Deathworld who would get it into his head to try to convince his captors that trade is better than war. Considering that the original target of the Roogs was Kerk Pyrrhus...
- The Third Guard (2012). Things are far from ordinary for Dr. Gleb Sobolev, an experienced surgeon for the last couple of weeks. After all, there is an alien lying in his basement. Of that much he can be sure, as the human body holds no mysteries to him. While, under "normal" circumstances, he would take the alien to a nearby hospital and show him off to his colleagues from all over the world, the alien clearly expressed his intent before passing out. He was coming directly to Gleb with a very important task. Gleb, deciding to invoke doctor-patient confidentiality, chooses to wait and see. But wait for what? First Contact? Flying saucers? Or events that will forever change Gleb's life?
- The Last Battle (2007). The novel is an unofficial sequel to Sterling Lanier's Hiero Desteen books. Hiero Desteen is a brave warrior. Along with his comrades, he goes on an dangerous adventure to the Old World, where the greatest enemy of humanity, the Unclean One, has hidden himself. A great battle awaits them, the result of which cannot be foreseen, but the victor will rule the world.
- Atilla series (2010-2011). Shared Universe set in The Time of Myths with the other books written by Grigori Polonsky.
- Isle of Dreams. This story began long before humans came to be. In those foggy times, the continents were not yet divided by seas, the air was thicker, and the Immortal Gods did not shy away from coming down from the heavens to involve themselves in mortal affairs. Atilla is a mighty warrior from the faraway Scythia is ordered by Shaiena, the Mistress of the Isle of Dreams, to journey to the distant northern land called Normmain. It wouldn't be so bad, except he was given a companion on his quest. Not a man but a monstrous giant, created by black magic.
- Pulse of the Heavens. The mighty Scythian warrior Atilla has become a king and has rightly ruled the throne of Aquitania for several years. Life is good, but a powerful magical talisman disappears from the royal treasury. The Heart of Sargon, also known as the Pulse of the Heavens. Now King Atilla must take off his crown, pick up his sword, and, like the good old days, journey to find the missing holy relic.
- The Masseur (2011). The Masseur, knowing the secrets of Tibetan medicine, leads a double life. By day, he is a unique healer. By night, he is a coldblooded, merciless criminal. The only way to destroy the killer Masseur lies outside the law and beyond usual methods.