Free Fall

A Sniper's Story from Chechnya

Nicolai Lilin

My country was turning into a realm of the absurd. Capitalism, so longed for, never came. The mentality of the crook reigned, the mentality of people out for easy money who wanted to look smarter than God himself
Free Fall by Nicolai Lilin (Paperback ISBN 9781847679727) book cover

Available as Paperback, eBook

A unique and remarkable account of the war in Chechnya by the internationally acclaimed author of Siberian Education

Free Fall tells the brutal engrossing story of the Second Chechen War, through the eyes of a young Russian Soldier. Nicolai Lilin was trained as a sniper in an unorthodox Russian Special Forces regiment called the Saboteurs. This hardened and close-knit band of brothers, operating beyond the control of military code, faced mercenary fighters, anti-personnel mines and torture of the most extreme kind.

Free Fall offers a sniper’s-eye view of one of the most controversial wars in living memory. It is unflinching, unforgiving and unputdownable.

“Extraordinary…Lilin serves up brilliantly harrowing set-pieces, but also illuminates the soul of the warrior.”
scotland On Sunday

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“A pitiless account … pierced with firm feelings for his ‘family’ of fellow saboteurs - as well as an existential sorrow over a war that made so little sense that peace, when it finally came, felt incomprehensible.”

“A young Russian soldier’s brutal memoir.”

“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]

“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]

Nicolai Lilin

Nicolai Lilin is a Russian writer of Siberian descent. He was born in 1980 in the USSR and grew up in Transnistria, a small state that declared its independence in 1990. He was conscripted to the Russian military, and was involved in anti-terrorist operations in Chechnya. Once his military service ended, he worked for various private security agencies as an anti-terrorism consultant before leaving military life to travel in various European countries, including Ireland. He settled in Italy, and founded an arts centre in Milan dedicated to the tradition and design of Siberian tattoos. His first book, Siberian Education, was a major bestseller in Italy and it was published in the UK to critical acclaim.