The Universe of Metro 2033 (Russian: Вселенная Метро 2033) is a long-running series of post-apocalyptic short stories, novellas and novels, spanning a variety of genres. The works are written by many different authors. However, all publications from the series are supported by Dmitry Glukhovsky and advertised on the official Metro 2033 website.
Although the project started off in Russia in late 2009, it has grown immensely since then and has consequently been turned into an international programme. To date, over 65 books have been published under this label. The series features not only the creations of Russian writers, but also the creative works of Belarusian, Polish, Ukrainian, British, Italian, and Cuban authors.
It enjoys great popularity in Russia (where a new title is released each month) and other Eastern European countries, such as Poland (where the project is growing immensely) and Hungary (where it has also gathered a cult following). Outside of the region, Germany has received some translations; a few stories from the series have also been published in Italy, Spain, and Sweden. None of the works have yet been translated to English.Moscow, a fraction of St. Petersburg's citizens have fled to the underground tunnels of their hometown's metro. Piter (named after a Russian slang word for St. Petersburg) tells the story of Ivan Merkulov, a twenty-six year old fighter and stalker who experiences many trials and adventures as he travels through places both in the subway system of Saint Petersburg, as well as those above on the surface of post-apocalyptic Earth.
The novel begins with the young protagonist about to get married. Unfortunately, the ceremony gets interrupted when the engine-generator that powers the necessities of life on Vasileostrovskaya (Ivan's home station) is stolen. Sozonov - friend and member of Merkulov's team of stalkers - believes that the residents of several nearby stations, who originate from Moscow, are responsible for the crime. A war, between those stations and an alliance that Vasileostrovskaya is part of, begins.
As is revealed later on in the story, things are much more complex than Ivan could have ever foreseen. It turns out that he is dragged into something much bigger than the local conflict between the two factions, and the lines between friend & foe become very blurry as he continues his task. Merkulov's mission takes him to various locations, through numerous dangers and oddities, as he travels through the metro and beyond.Piter, this novel tells the story of a group of survivors from post-nuclear St. Petersburg. The main characters of the book are Taran (a veteran stalker) and Gleb (a twelve-year-old boy who is taken from his home station by Taran). The two join a team of stalkers, who have been tasked with discovering the source of the mysterious light seen on the surface; presumed to originate from Kronshtadt. Taran - the most experienced member of the group - serves as their guide, with Gleb as his assistant.
The book explores the ideas of hope, the truth behind the worshippers of the newly-formed, post-apocalyptic religion of Exodus and Gleb's personal quest to find paradise in world that has seen nuclear disaster. Although it is one of the shorter novels in the Universe series, Towards the Light is still considered to be a book of outstanding quality. Much like its brethren, it is different to Glukhovsky's Metro 2033 and Metro 2034, but upholds similar messages and atmosphere.
The book has a direct sequel titled Into the Darkness.
Direct sequel to Towards the Light and second instalment in Dyakov's trilogy, Into the Darkness features the same surviving protagonists from the previous story and takes place after the events of Towards the Light. As witnessed by the crew of the "Babel" offshore oil platform, inhabitants of the Moshchny Island perish in the fires of a nuclear explosion. Questions arise as to who and for what reasons would strike the peaceful society of the island, annihilating any hope of a brighter future for the few survivors of the Catastrophe.
Dwellers of the St. Petersburg metro are accused of committing this atrocity. The "Babel" oil rig crew send them an ultimatum: the individuals responsible for the bombing are to be found within a week, otherwise all tenants of the subway will face a fate similarly deadly to that of the Moshchny citizens. The investigation becomes Taran's responsibility, but the situation becomes even more complicated by the sudden disappearance of Gleb, his foster-son. Questions multiply, but the path to the truth is a difficult one for it lies in darkness - at the very bottom of the human soul.
The book has a continuation called Beyond the Horizon.
Set in post-apocalyptic Italy, the action of the story begins in the Catacombs of Callixtus, one of the Catacombs of Rome, where the remnants of Catholic authority are led by the Camerlengo of the Holy Roman Church, the last surviving member of the College of Cardinals. From this "New Vatican" an expedition sets off to find the Patriarch of Venice, who seems to be the only known candidate for the next papacy. According to rumours, he is imprisoned in the north of Italy and the path eventually leads to Venice. The priest entrusted with seeking out the Patriarch, an American man called John Daniels, is placed under the protection of seven soldiers of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.
The deadly surface of the planet makes his mission a perilous one. The way to Venice is blood-stained, full of pain and madness. The ambiguous behaviour of Father Daniels' escort makes him feel uncertain about the true objective of the expedition, whilst the horrors he experiences along the way make him doubt the point of the Church's mission. The dreadful scenes described in The Roots of Heaven belong to some of (if not the) most cruel and gruesome stories of the entire Metro Series. On this turbulent path, John Daniels begins to question his companions, his church, his faith and himself. In addition to renowned cities like Rome and Venice, the story also features other places: Urbino, Rimini, Santarcangelo di Romagna, and Ravenna among others.
The novel has a direct sequel titled "La crociata dei bambini" (The Children's Crusade), in which Father Daniels, trying to return to Rome, finds himself involved in the war that divides the city of Milan.
Set in the post-apocalyptic Kaliningrad Oblast of the Russian Federation, much of the story takes place within a series of underground bunkers built by the Germans during the Second World War. Once the Nazis occupying Eastern Europe were defeated by the Red Army and the Soviet Union took control over the area, the bunkers were partially modernized and used as shelters during the Cold War era. Naturally, when the Great War of 2013 came, citizens of the Kaliningrad Oblast who found themselves nearby when the bombs started falling retreated into these structures to survive. Now, 20 years after the nuclear conflict, various fractions continue to fight for survival in the hazardous area that used to be their home.The few organizations that have persevered remain suspicious of each other at best, but will they put their differences aside when unexpected visitors "return" to reclaim the heritage of their ancestors? The Nazi bunkers (now inhabited by what remains of Kaliningrad's Russian population) are still very enigmatic to their tenants, with countless hidden tunnels and a rumoured subway system containing the scientific secrets of the Third Reich. Heritage of the Ancestors stars a varied cast of characters who are connected to this tale; among them are the protagonists Aleksandr Zagorski, Major Stechkin, Tigran Bagramian (an Armenian), and Rita Gzel.
The St. Petersburg metro is plunged into yet another war - this time it is the vegan imperium, who try to conquer the independent stations. Meanwhile, Taran (an experienced stalker) finds a trace of the Alpheios project, which may be able to clear the surface of the planet of deadly radiation and give the survivors hope that they could one day leave their tunnels and shelters. The trail leads to the Far East, to Vladivostok . The vegan imperium's opponents would like to have Taran on their side due to his previous experience with the bloodthirsty faction, but he sees things differently.
Ready to burn bridges and leave the St. Petersburg metro by force, Taran sets out to seek hope for the world somewhere else, beyond the horizon. On his mission he is joined by his foster-children Gleb and Aurora, as well as his proven friends and companions Injun, Godless One, Migalych and Gennadiy. The journey takes them across Asia, making Beyond the Horizon one of the few books in the series to feature such a large trip and so many different locations in just one story.Beyond the Horizon is the sequel to Into the Darkness, as well as the final instalment in the trilogy that started with Towards the Light. Nowa Huta district of Kraków, southern Poland. During World War III, the enemy dropped 2 nuclear bombs near the once glorious city. Less than 20% of Kraków's pre-war population lived through the explosions. Even fewer have managed to endure the following conflagrations, as well as the lethally long winter that followed. By 2033, almost 2 decades after the worldwide conflict ravaged the planet, the surface of the Earth remains uninhabitable. The snow has melted years ago, only to reveal immense amounts of radioactive ash. However, thanks to the expansive network of underground fallout shelters built beneath Nowa Huta, a portion of the district's former citizens lived on... but humanity is deteriorating.
17 year old boy Marcin and his 19 year old assumed sister Ewa Dziekierzyńska are orphans; took in by Stanisław Koszyński (known commonly as Mister Onufry) and his motherlike cousin Wanda Tazar, they were raised like family and accepted into the only subterranean troupe. Alongside their adoptive mother and the charismatic actor Piotr Rzepiecha, they make ends meet by starring in Mister Onufry's inspiring adaptations of pre-war plays. Everything seems to be going in their favour, until suddenly they are accused of treason and theft. Betrayed by Piotr and separated from their mentors, Marcin and Ewa must flee from the only home they have ever known. Upon leaving the safety of the fallout shelter for the first time, their escape is hindered by the inhospitable outdoors. But they are soon joined by a Russian stalker nicknamed "Wesoły", who has also been falsely incriminated and decides to help them.Authoritites of the underground federation send hardened Lieutenant Przemysław Siedlar (alias "Szrama") and his newly assigned team of stalkers on a mission to capture the fugitives and bring them to justice. During this journey, they are joined by the charming comrade Ninel and her subordinate "Gorący" from the Commune. The plot follows the exploits of protagonists Marcin and Siedlar, along with their respective companions, whilst also focusing on much of the political intrigue between the numerous factions that have formed in post-apocalyptic Nowa Huta. As the remnants of mankind continue to turn life into hell on earth for each other, will they be able to stand against the intellectually unanimous hordes approaching from the west and survive the looming onslaught? Rostov-on-Don, not to be confused with the much older and smaller Rostov the Great. Most of the book's action takes place within the tunnels of the Rostov metro. In reality, although planning of the project dates back to the 1980s, the rapid transit in Rostov remains under development as of 2015. The author explains how production was sped up for the liberty of the story. In Murancha, the Rostov subway is divided into two lines: the red line, which was finished and had all the necessary features of a shelter installed; and the blue line, which was still under construction when the bombs were dropped, therefore there are no rails or proper hermetic doors throughout this part of the underground.
The protagoist is called Ilya Magin (nicknamed Mag), a middle-aged hermit who continues to live in the long abandoned station where his wife Olga and son Sergiey died years prior. There are also some recurring secondary characters, such as Kozak the stalker and Taras Bulba (named after the character from Gogol's novella). The plot revolves around a swarm of heavily mutated giant ant-locusts that invade Rostov and how the denizens of the city's metro try to deal with the oncoming doom, whilst the more personal narrative focuses on Illya and how he becomes (at first unwillingly) involved with the affairs of the survivors. Throughout the course of the story, he must change his reclusive ways in order to start living again and finally recover from the haunting loss of family that he never truly came to terms with.
Twelve of the book's thirteen chapters are self-contained stories from the Moscow Metro. Some of the tales feature places already mentioned in previous books, whilst others explore mysterious reaches of the metro that have never before been spoken of. Several of the stories are tied to the station of Kitay-Gorod, home to some of the most powerful crime syndicates within the Moscow subway; other stations featured in the book are: Chistye Prudy, Sportivnaya, farm-station Sokol, the infamous Polyanka, and Tverskaya of the Fourth Reich. Highlights of In the Firelight include legends about why some of the northernmost stations of the Moscow Metro came to be abandoned, myths regarding the formation of Polis, details of previous conflicts between Hanza and the Red Line (intertwined with tragic personal stories from the lives of the underground's inhabitants), as well as a jailbreak from a fascist prison.
Last and one of the longest is a story written by Rafał Górniak that takes place in Łódź. Since In the Firelight was published before The Promised District was written, it was the first work released under the Universe of Metro 2033 label to describe the situation of a Polish locale in Glukhovsky's post-apocalyptic work. Górniak reveals that in Łódź only 632 people managed to live through the nuclear war by seeking refuge in railway tunnels and sewers underneath the city (Łódź does not have a "full" metro system). Struggling to cope with the end of the world, the community of survivors began to degrade and split into two unfriendly groups: one a cult led by two pre-war Catholic priests, the other a regime of atheists determined to remain "rational" in the face of recent events. Differences between the two factions eventually grow into a full-scale conflict between them.
Ulike its predecessor In the Firelight, Whispers of the Fallen is more adventurous with its settings - even though 5 of its stories are still set in or nearby the Moscow Metro (dealing with the themes of good and evil among mankind, the troubles of terminally ill children in a post-apocalyptic world, Anna's secret mission to thwart Korbut and Pavel in their plans to obtain powerful weaponry for the Red Line, and others). In contrast, the first chapter of the book takes place in Kiev, Ukraine, where people have also managed to find refuge in the city's own extensive metro system; it is a psychological thriller focused on the ways that the human mind can be affected by hallucinogenic poisons. The remaining 7 stories of Whispers of the Fallen are set in various parts of Poland, as well as some of its southern neighbours like Slovakia and Hungary:
- In Warsaw, the Polish capital, some of the metro stations have endured nuclear bombardment, thanks to which Varsovians can continue to fight for survival beneath the surface of the planet in the year 2033. Even so, Kabaty has fallen to massive attacks of mutated wildlife from the surface, so the neighbouring stations of Imielin and Natolin must prepare for the worst. Moreover, equally fatal perils lurk within the Warsaw Metro itself.
- In Zwonowice, in the Silesian region, several villagers continue to live a miserable existence in cellars underneath a destroyed building; to their undoing, the man they selected as their leader is unaware of his own gradual descent into vicious madness.
- Despite of Radom having a military airport and firearms factory, nuclear weaponry was not used on this city in east-central Poland... but the harsh winter, acid rain, toxic clouds and such environmental consequences of World War III have brought Radom to ruin regardless. A family of survivors build a hot air balloon and attempt to fly to Africa - from above they see the devastated villages along the southern side of the Western Carpathians; the once magnificent Budapest is nowhere to be seen and the enormous Lake Balaton has dried up completely.
- In the northwest of Poland, the existence of a rigorously organised underground society of survivors in Szczecin is threatened by the spread of strange flora from an ominous xylem-like structure. Meanwhile, a mutated boy with unique abilities is hailed as a messiah in another district.
- Częstochowa in southern Poland continues to be highly irradiated after the war, but hundreds of souls persist in old tunnels beneath the Jasna Góra Monastery. Under the influence of a Catholic priest, the subterranean community degenerates into an autocracy, but dissent grows within.
Anatoliy (a.k.a. "Tolya" or "Tom") Tomski, the protagonist of this tale, is a 27 year old anarchist who commands a squad of soldiers from the Voykovskaya station. When the leaders of his home station learn of a sadistic plan to genetically engineer a breed of super soldiers at a hidden laboratory in Lubyanka on the Red Line, Tolya and his six loyal comrades (with the assistance of veteran Sergeant Arshinov) are selected to sabotage the experiment. At first inspired by the old literature of Pyotr Kropotkin and Mikhail Bakunin, Anatoliy perceives the mission as a quest to save humanity, but things don't go according to plan as the team is broken up - he and his close ones are soon subjected to extremely painful experiences. Through one misfortune after another, distance between Tomski and his initial objective grows - the mission becomes only more complicated along the way. After several harrowing ordeals, our hero's wish to help others gradually turns into a desire for vengeance, but will the new allies and friends he makes during the journey remind him of what is truly important?
Set in the Moscow Metro, Dark Tunnels gives us insight into previously unexplored parts of the Russian capital's subway. Voykovskaya (the headquarters of the faction), Vodny Stadion (its cultural centre) and Rechnoy Vokzal (its farm) form an anarchist community known as the Huliaipole Republic, guided by their charismatic leader "Nestor" - nicknamed so after the Ukrainian anarcho-communist Nestor Makhno. Further southeast on the same line, Mayakovskya is revealed to be a seemingly deprived location ruled by criminals. On the previously abandoned Timiryazevskaya to the north, a bewildering society of Satanists has developed. Elsewhere, some stations of the Filyovskaya Line, due to their unfortunate position, have been subjected to high levels of radiation and so they are now inhabited by the mutated offspring of survivors who sought shelter there after the Great War of 2013.
Many other books have also been published under the Universe of Metro 2033 banner since the launch of Dmitry Glukhovsky's project in 2009, but information about most of them is scarce. Their titles are:
- Track Marks
- Exit by Force
- Marmoreal Paradise
- The Wanderer
- The North
- In the Interests of the Revolution
- War of Moles
- To See the Sun
- Below Hell
- Ghost Station
- Icy Captivity
- The Siege of Paradise
- The Last Refuge
- The Blinding Void
- Kingdom of Rats
- The Right by Force
- The Bad Side of Peace
- The Witness
- Daughter of the Heavenly Spirit
- The Right for Life
- Abode of Dreams
- Cat and Mouse
- The One Standing at the Door
- Dark Target
- From the Depths
- Dusk at the End of the Tunnel
- Snow Leopard
- The Measurer
- Sisters of Sorrow
- The Road of Steel and Hope
- The Host of the Yauza
- Born to Crawl
- The Apostate
- The Children's Crusade
Russian covers of some books from the series:Edit