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Cold War Magic

Toby Barlow’s supernatural spy thriller

Aug. 14, 2013
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toby barlow
In Russian folklore, Baba Yaga is a fearsome or deformed supernatural being. Author Toby Barlow has capitalized on Russian mythology to create a dark, spellbinding new novel, Babayaga, in which the magical comes to life alongside 1950s Cold War operatives and beautiful Parisian women who are not who they appear to be. A tale spun largely from superstition, Babayaga is filled with intrigue, murder and witchcraft.

This novel explores numerous unexpected genres and manages to simultaneously follow four unique archetypal characters: Will, an ad executive from Detroit whose agency is a front for the CIA; Zoya, a seemingly beautiful young woman in Paris who is in actuality a centuries-old witch getting over a bad breakup; Inspector Vidot, a determined Parisian detective who unexpectedly finds himself turned into an insect; and Oliver, a flamboyant American who comes to Paris with hopes of starting up a literary journal. Their lives collide in unique and supernatural ways as they face hijinks, Parisian romance and Cold War espionage. A lighthearted story filled with cartoonish characters set against a backdrop of murder and witchcraft, Babayaga is filled with wacky and outlandish adventures that are sure to entertain.

Barlow is the critically acclaimed author of Sharp Teeth, a 2009 novel about werewolves and dogcatchers written completely in free-verse poetry. A graduate of St. John’s College in New Mexico, Barlow currently makes his home in Detroit. The author will appear at Boswell Book Co. at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 21.

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