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The Ritual


Imagine DARK/The OA in the world of the Russian North where civilization and native mythology meet to create a grim, twisted, mind-bending thriller with a coming-of-age/identity crisis drama at its core.

A small town in the primeval forests of Karelia. The mine that provided the whole town with jobs has shut down, and it is only a question of time before the whole settlement will be abandoned. A group of teens come up together to perform a mock ritual on a sacred stone of Saami, the native people of Karelia. During the ritual the friends quarrel, and a girl ironically spells a curse on the others, asking the ancient demons of the woods to take her away from this place no matter how high the price of her wish might be.

However, a bad joke turns out to be a true nightmare. Every teen involved in the ritual dies within a few years, one by one.Nastya, who made a curse, seems to be unaware – she fled the town soon after the ritual and moved to St. Petersburg to start a new life and never come back.

In St. Petersburg, Nastya studies creative writing at the university and works at a coffee shop as many other students do. But deep within her she is terrified that she might repeat the story of her mother, whose schizophrenia landed her in a clinic. Was it really a schizophrenia or a ‘polar psychosis’, a weird form of mysterious possession inherent to the native peoples of the Russian North?

Misha (17) is a half-blood: his mother is Russian, and the father he hardly remembers is Saami. Since birth, he feels an outcast for Russians and Saami alike, mocked by fellow kids and even by his elder brother, Petya. When the rite happens, Petya makes his little brother go away, so Misha doesn’t witness what happened there. But when he finds his brother’s body in the woods (official investigation comes to the conclusion that wolves are to blame, but locals know - no wolves have been noticed in the neighborhood for years) Misha realizes that he and Nastya are the only ones who survived three years after the ritual. Nastya should be the key, so Misha heads to St. Petersburg to bring Nastya back and find ways to stop the curse.

When the ghosts from Nastya’s past show up in St Petersburg, the girl has to face questions she has been avoiding for so long. Nastya has to find out if she’s ‘psychotic’ or if her body has actually been taken away from her by a demon. Or maybe she’s just a scared girl who fights the consequences of trauma she’d been supplanting so fiercely that she managed to forget it at all. But forgetting does not equal overcoming.

Nastya will return to the Stone and find out what really happened there.


Book details

Clever publishers

Novel, 2020

382 pp

Rights sold

  • Audio book Storytel Original audio series, 8x50min

  • Film rights sold 

Literary awards

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