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The War Artist

A novel of Europe’s forgotten war in Ukraine


Anton Nedelkov is a miner who dreams of becoming a painter.  When masked Russian special forces begin seizing control of government buildings in the Donbas he in 2014 he does not support them. But as his life collapses around him he joins a motley crew of ex miners and Russian mercenaries to fight against his own country. He comes under fire at Donetsk airport and sees Ukraine’s heroic Cyborg troops lay down their lives for freedom.  Meanwhile his brother Sergei who fled the pit to become a successful programmer in Germany  returns to Ukraine to save Anton …Can the brothers mend a family torn apart by war before one of them is killed?

Maxim Butchenko is a successful journalist and writer  who was born in Luhansk and worked in the mines. This book is based on real people who he has seen torn apart by war.


The War Artist will be published by Kalyna Language Press on 7 July 2017.


Click the images below to read extracts from the novel and find out about life in occupied Donbas.







Maxim Butchenko

WarArtistCover miner-1903641_1920

Descend into the pit with a Donbas Miner ...


A dying Ukrainian soldier- one of the legendary Cyborgs- takes out three Russian paratroopers


Welcome to the occupation: life in the fake land of Novorossia


Hunted through the forest

The accident

Blood on the rocks: an accident underground

Introducing The War Artist: Maxim Butchenko .