Volodymyr Kuznietsov is a Ukrainian sci-fi/horror writer, game designer, comix writer, and metal musician from Severodonetsk, Luhansk region. This is the easternmost part of Ukraine, a territory invaded by Russia in 2014, freed by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and invaded and occupied in 2022 after a long and devastating siege, destroying most of the city. Now a refugee, Volodymyr lives with his family in Lviv. He continues writing also working as a volunteer, helping the Army, raising funds, and supplying armor, drones, scopes, survival gear, etc.
The Russian invasion in 2014 was the turning point in the author’s life. On the inside, this war never had any ethnical background. From the start it was a clash of ideologies, where Russia forced its imperial ambitions and authoritarian rule, denying the people of Ukraine to choose its own path. Russia desperately tries to reanimate the Soviet Union, while Ukraine fights for its independence and democratic rule. The war rages on and it left its trace in books – among which is Volodymyr Kuznietsov’s book “Zakolot: The Unspeakable Cults”.
Ukrainian word Zakolot means Mutiny, and the mutiny on a giant mothership Synano, the eldest warship of the New Human Empire – is the key story event of the novel. But the whole plot is much more complicated.
Zakolot consists of six parts, which are independent and can be read in any order – and, depending on what order you choose, you will get a different perspective on the main events, characters, major forces, and their motives. Some of the parts are 3000 years apart from each other, and some take place almost simultaneously, but in the end – they are all pieces of the one greater puzzle – and how to solve it – is up to the reader.
Zakolot is set in the alternative timeline, where Axis won the war – mostly because of Japan, who discovered the artifacts of ancient pre-human civilization, which caused a technological breakthrough. United under totalitarian rule, humanity left Earth and started to conquer the Moon and Mars – and meets an alien race, who dwelled in secret in the Outer Solar System. Militarized human government assaults the outposts of the aliens, which leads to the war, and in a short while – an utter defeat and collapse of the human civilization. After a thousand years, called the New Dark Ages, humanity finds a new ally – a god-like cosmic being, enslaved by the aliens. By freeing him humanity reclaims its freedom but only to build a New Empire, even more oppressive and cruel than the previous one.
The new conquests together with the internal struggles are the plot of the modern days of the New Empire. Occult practices and high tech are mixed in one. Cosmic gods, official and forbidden cults form new morals and ideologies, sometimes scary and inhuman in nature. The mutiny on the oldest and biggest warship, the Empire ever built, will have tremendous consequences for Humanity.
But is there even a single Humanity anymore?