Friday, October 2, 2015

Guest Blog: Trinity: The False Prince by Sophie Masson

UFI welcomes Author Sophie Masson. Thanks for Joining us!!

Unusual Moscow settings for Trinity:The False Prince
by Sophie Masson

Moscow is the vibrant, diverse and exciting backdrop to Trinity: The False Prince. Everyone knows about Red Square and the Kremlin and St Basil's; but in this post I want to briefly introduce readers to some of the more unusual settings for some of the book's most important scenes.

  • Izmailovo market: a fantastic, sprawling market crammed full with beautiful crafts, artworks, antiques and junk, this is a fabulous place to browse and buy gorgeous things. But it's also got a dark history as a hotbed of mafia activity and underworld goings-on.
  • The Cosmonaut Museum, located in the VDNKH exhibition park, in an outer suburb of Moscow.  This is an absolutely fantastic museum of the history of Russian space exploration, with amazing and really interesting displays ranging from the tiny, tinny capsule in which the great Yuri Gagarin went into space, to the living quarters of the Mir Space Station. And the outside features the quaintly-named Memorial to the Conquerors of Space, a beautiful aluminium sculpture of a rocket soaring into the sky, one of the best modern sculptures to be seen in Moscow. You can read more about the museum here
(In contrast to the beauty of the rocket sculpture as well as the cramped vulnerability of Gagarin's capsule, there is a gigantic metal statue of the legendary astronaut elsewhere in Moscow, on Leninsky Prospekt, a gargantuan thing which looks like something out of Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings).
  • The Patriarch Ponds, famous for being a setting in one of the most beloved of modern Russian novels, Mikhail Bulgakov's fantastical allegory The Master and Margarita, and which as a homage to that book, I've also used as a setting for an important and enigmatic scene in The False Prince. When we were there in 2012, we followed a route that led from the flat where Bulgakov once lived (now a museum devoted to his work) across a tram line that also features in his book (though actually it wasn't in that spot!), and into the Patriarch Ponds park where we found a peaceful oasis of water and swans, statues out of The Master and Margarita, and promenading couples, and a couple of shy touts trying to sell watercolours of the place!
  • Mayakovskaya metro station: This is one of the most beautiful of Moscow's many lovely Metro stations. Dating from 1938, in Stalin's reign (in fact ironically all the most beautiful stations date from that dark period) it features gorgeous Art Deco architecture, and was named after the turbulent Soviet poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. It's very popular with tourists as well as locals.
  • Dacha country, Moskva riverside: This semi-rural area of parkland is on the outskirts of Moscow, following the Moskva river and its canals. It features lots of 'dachas' the country weekend retreats beloved of Russian city-dwellers, and these range from tiny shacks with a vegetable plot to extravagant mansions. Riverside paths are also popular with horse-riders and the proximity to the water means that there's always lots of people mucking about in boats, both big and little, as well as swimming. I thought its peace and laid-back atmosphere made the perfect contrast to the dramatic happenings in the climax of the book!

Born in Indonesia of French parents, Sophie Masson was sent to live with her paternal grandmother in Toulouse, France, when she was just a baby and lived there till she was nearly five, when her parents came back from Indonesia and took her to Australia. All the rest of her childhood, the family stayed in Australia, with frequent trips back to France, and this dual heritage underpins a good deal of Sophie's work.

Sophie's first book appeared in 1990 and since then she has published more than sixty novels, for children, young adults and adults. Her books have been published in Australia, the USA, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and many other countries. She has also had many short stories and articles published in newspapers, magazines, and online journals.

Sophie holds a BA and M.Litt in French and English literature, and is on the Board of the Australian Society of Authors, the New England Writers' Centre, and the committee of the New England and North West sub-branch of the Children's Book Council of NSW.

Find Sophie and her books

Trinity: The False Prince
Trinity #2
Momentum  Amazon  iBooks 
Truth is the first casualty of war.

Over a year has passed since the events that changed Helen's life forever. With Maxim and her other friends, she is fighting to uphold the legacy entrusted to her, but struggles with the weight of memory, the stress of trying to keep Trinity afloat, and the continuing manipulations of the company's enemies.

Meanwhile, in a remote coastal settlement in southern Mexico, a young fisherman is made an offer he can't refuse. This triggers a chain of events which will completely transform the struggle for Helen's ownership of Trinity and the secrets of the Koldun code.