10 best books by Valentin Pikul

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Valentin Savvich Pikul is the author of many interesting works on naval and historical themes. Pikul's books were popular during his lifetime and were reprinted many times after the writer's death. Critics often criticized the works of Valentin Pikul, but this did not diminish his popularity. After all, ambiguity breeds interest.

It was the works of this writer that became for many people a guide to the world of historical literature in Soviet times. If you like history or are interested in the naval theme, you will also like the books of this undoubtedly talented Soviet author. And we have collected in our rating the 10 best books by Valentin Pikul, awarding them with small reviews. And no spoilers!

Rating of the best books by Valentin Pikul

Nomination a place composition price
Rating of the best books by Valentin Pikul 1 I have the honor 220 RUB
2 Battle of the Iron Chancellors 228 r
3 Okini-san's three ages 272 r
4 Devilry 272 r
5 Favorite 746 RUB
6 Boys with bows 248 r
7 Moonzund 235 RUB
8 Requiem for the caravan PQ-17 249 r
9 Hard labor 210 RUB
10 Barbarossa RUB 478

I have the honor

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.9


Late historical novel of the writer, deservedly considered one of the most popular among Pikul. Two stories of one person are intertwined in it. And both of them are associated with serious military conflicts – the First and Second World Wars. 'The Honor' is not just a soldier's story. This is a real confession of a tsarist and then a Soviet intelligence agent without a name, who got into the hottest and most dangerous spots during the First and Second World Wars.

The hero's path is intricate – from lawyers he goes to the General Staff, where he takes root, where he will work and practically live. A man undergoes many accidents, in fact, participates in key historical events of the Russian Empire and, then, the Soviet Union. And in parallel he analyzes what happened, explaining it from his point of view. We will see how he studied and worked, looked for himself and pondered everything that happened and is happening around him.

The novel is surprisingly patriotic: despite all the troubles the hero gets into, he still believes in Russia and is devoted to it. And despite everything, he retains his honor. The scout is smart and prudent. Some even call him 'Pikulevsky Stirlitz'. In fact, this is a collective image of the ideal Russian officer, as he should be in the mind of the author.

Battle of the Iron Chancellors

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.8


As Pikul himself wrote, this is a novel 'without embellishment, without fiction and without lyrics'. The book 'Battle of the Iron Chancellors' is set in the second half of the 19th century. The novel revolves around two “iron chancellors” of the time – the Russian Alexander Gorchakov and the German Otto von Bismarck. Both chancellors have their own goal, leading to the prosperity of their homelands.

The novel tells about the difficult diplomatic relations between Russia and other countries, the work of leading politicians and diplomats of that time. In particular, about the diplomatic duel between Bismarck and Gorchakov in an attempt to achieve their goals – a sharp, complex, multifaceted 'battle'. They have to compete and cooperate, give in and solve problems. And everyone eventually achieves the assigned tasks.

Despite all the formality of diplomatic relations, the heroes of the work cannot be called 'wooden'. They are living people with their own characteristics and views. And so it is interesting to see how they are forced to formulate each proposal with care and diplomatic subtlety in order to succeed. Moreover, taking into account the events that are happening around.

Okini-san's three ages

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.7


This is a story of wars, love and the terrible thing that can happen to a person during and after serving in the navy. The main character is Vladimir Kokovtsev, who has come a long way from midshipman to admiral and has seen a lot of things. The novel consists, as it were, of three separate stories, 'three ages'. Each is marked by something important in the life of not only the protagonist, but the whole of Russia as a whole.

The hero goes through many conflicts – from the Russian-Japanese war to the October Revolution. He finds love, but it seems that he is not destined to stay with her. He starts a family, but it is not known if everything will be fine with her. He is actively building a career, but will she save him in old age, on the brink of the October Revolution? In general, the book describes the fate of an outstanding man, an admiral, with all the twists and turns and sudden turns.

We will have a chance to observe not only Vladimir Kokovtsev, but also his 'temporary wife', Okini-san, whose fate is no less tragic and interesting. She, an ordinary citizen of Japan, and he, at first an ordinary midshipman, and then a captain of the Russian fleet, during the Russo-Japanese war. Their lives sometimes diverge, then converge and intertwine again in different situations. And with a different outcome.


Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.7


The novel is dedicated to Grigory Efimovich Rasputin and the whole period, which was called 'Rasputinism'. But it covers not only him, but also the past until the end of the reign of Alexander III. There is a history of imperial power and its agony in Russia shortly before the Revolution. However, Pikul too harshly rode in the images of the ruling family, for which he was criticized more than once.

The novel tells about the last decades of the Russian Empire through Grigory Rasputin, the last favorite of the royal family and 'evil spirits', as many people then believed. His influence on the ongoing processes and the Romanov family is shown. And not only on historical facts, but also through gossip a century ago. The latter, by the way, is frankly funny to read if you are critical of such information.

It should be understood that the novel was written during the Soviet era, when the image of Rasputin was used in a negative way for propaganda. Therefore, one should not expect impartiality from the novel. The author does not sympathize with either the Romanov family or Rasputin himself, and this is noticeable. But the brightness of the language, the presentation and creation of the image of hopelessness and the impending tragedy (Revolution), which still happens, was not affected.


Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.6


The novel 'Favorite' tells about both the then favorite of Catherine II, Grigory Potemkin, and many other historical figures and events. In fact, this is a chronicle of the reign of Catherine the Great. It consists of two volumes – 'His Empress' and 'His Taurida'. The work reveals the main events of the second half of the 18th century. The work is fantastically worked out, down to the smallest facts that create the most complete picture of that time.

In the novel 'Favorite', together with the count, we will go from birth to death, through all historical events and difficult decisions. We will see battles and balls, everyday life and reflections. By right, this book is considered by many to be the best about that era. The image of Catherine the Great is especially vividly and reliably drawn. He shows everything that happened in that era. And not only positive facts, but also problems, mistakes and shortcomings of the time, which the writer tells about.

Almost all the heroes are real historical figures as interpreted by Pikul. There is only one fictional character who captures all the characteristic features of that time. In some situations, the writer interprets and embellishes the facts, but this does not make it less interesting. After all, this is a novel, not documents.

Boys with bows

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.5


This is not just another novel by the writer. This is the autobiography of Valentin Pikul, in which he reflected himself as a teenager. Moreover, in difficult times of war. In this work, the fate and history of the writer can be easily traced. But this is definitely a life-affirming romance with a certain amount of optimism.

In the work we have to see through the eyes of Savka Ogurtsov, the youngest cabin boy of all. Despite his age, Savka is smart and prudent, educated and has an incredible desire to study. Even the difficulties of the Jung school do not discourage a teenager from learning and finally becoming a real cabin boy. Even in the end, when the matured Savka gets on a battleship and says goodbye to ideal ideas about war, he still has an amazing craving for new knowledge.

Savka is a student of the first recruitment of the USSR cadets. Therefore, he will have to not only study, but literally master an education system that has not yet been invented and create a school on Solovki the way it should be. In addition to teaching, we can observe the everyday life of students in a new school, from minor conflicts to real domestic and labor exploits.


Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.4


The patriotic novel 'Moonsund' tells us about the bloody Battle of Moonsund, in which tens of thousands of Russian soldiers and officers were killed and taken prisoner by German troops. About those who, to the last, performed their military duty and did not betray the country. In the novel, you can trace the idea of ​​why the October Revolution happened. Although officially the book is not about, but about the battles of the First World War and about the tragedy on a single archipelago.

The characters are written quite vividly and interestingly, especially the main ones. The work contains both love for the Motherland and the usual, human feelings of two people. Even the ships seem to be alive and actively participating in the story. Perhaps it was so: after all, for a sailor, his ship is not just a piece of iron afloat, but almost a personality. Especially in war, when life depends on the ship.

The book contains not only good, positive characters. There are many cowards and traitors here, both among ordinary soldiers and officers and at the “top” in the government. Pikul is not trying to show the perfect picture of the battle. He writes about how it really was, with all the dirt and problems.

Requiem for the caravan PQ-17

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.3


'Requiem for the PQ-17 Caravan' is one of the most famous works dedicated to the Arctic convoys of the Second World War. Valentin Pikul himself called the work a 'documentary drama'. In it, he not only creatively presented historical facts, but turned them into a real tragedy for those who directly participated in the caravan.

The work is dedicated to the polar convoy PQ-17, which was almost completely destroyed by Hitler's aircraft and submarine fleet in an attempt to deliver equipment and cargo to the USSR. The novel contains everything – the stories of the transports that escaped death, and the desperate battles of those who could not get out, and excursions into the past … In general, there is a lot of things. In the book, these facts are intertwined with fiction and presented under such a sauce that the reader really seems to become a participant in these events.

The main theme of the work is about the heroism of the sailors who remained in the ice font or who successfully reached the Arkhangelsk port, and the horrors of war. Pikul writes about human destinies – so different, but facing a terrible danger due to a command error.

Hard labor

Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.2


This work is about the battle for survival under Japanese occupation on Sakhalin Island. The events took place during the Russo-Japanese War, when convicts and exiles were forced to fight off the samurai of the Land of the Rising Sun. The novel tells in easy language about difficult events and facts that even undermined the health of the author himself (the writer had a heart attack while writing).

The main character is far from ideal and not a 'good guy', as is customary in such prose. He is a villain, a criminal and a cunning one. However, Pikul makes you look at him from a different angle, when this person stands up to defend the Motherland from invaders. Together with regular soldiers and convicts, he fights against the brutal and terrible Japanese soldiers, joining the uprising of the previously fragmented Sakhalin against the enemy.

But still, the main part of the novel is devoted precisely to hard labor, as a historical fact. And the writer shows how terrible this phenomenon was. And we see not only Sakhalin for ordinary residents – creepy, heavy and killing. But also bureaucratic arbitrariness, embezzlement and other problems that made life difficult for people.


Book author: Valentin Savvich Pikul

Rating: 4.1


The last novel by Valentin Pikul. The writer worked on it until his death in 1991, but did not manage to finish it. Only most of the first volume was written. But that doesn't make the already created material worse. This is a reflection novel in which the writer reinterprets some of the events of the Great Patriotic War. But he does not just reflect, but describes the historical situation, preconditions and real events of that time.

“Barbarossa” is dedicated to the Battle of Stalingrad. But it will not only be about her. In the work, the author will consider from his point of view the entire prehistory of the war, its preconditions and attempts to delay. He will put on the shelves, as it seems to him, all the mistakes of the command.

Some readers may not like that the book is written in the spirit of the late 80s. That is, with the then widespread myths about the ruling elite and its failures, the terrible Stalin, and so on. Unfortunately, only the first volume of the planned dilogy was written. The second, judging by the text, was supposed to clarify a lot in the author's vision. But illness did not allow Pikul to finish the work.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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