Who is Anna Rykov?

Dr. Anna Rykov is the main protagonist of the Utgarda Trilogy. From The Old Man’s Request: Book One of the Utgarda Trilogy, we learn that:

Anna was born Tatyana Trevena, the sole daughter of poor Russian immigrants. In exchange for passage to Brooklyn, the sixteen-year-old was married to the much older, exiled Fyodor Rykov shortly after their arrival in America in 1912. Rykov was an old world man. He treated his young wife as his property and she lived in submission to him until he died of a heart attack two years later.

Tatyana inherited a modest fortune. Wanting to be more American, and having the means to do so, she adopted the name Anna and attended Columbia University, where she studied Anthropology. She completed her degree in three years and went on to pursue a doctorate. In 1924, she did field research for the Russian archaeologist Aleksey Sergeyevich Uvarov in Gnyozdovo, a part of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, the site of a ring of 10th century Viking settlements.

Upon returning to the United States in 1926, Dr. Anna Rykov, expert in the Varangians, or Russian Vikings, found that there was little interest in a female professor, especially one of Russian descent, who had done field work in the Soviet Union and could have potentially been a Bolshevik. When Jason Longborough[…]”

Excerpt From: Stieglitz, Joab. “The Old Man’s Request: Book One of the Utgarda Trilogy.” Lulu.com, 2016-12-01. 

Anna is a strong, confident woman in a era when strong, confident women threaten the social order. Additionally, she is of Russian decent, and did field research in Soviet Russia. In the 1920’s “Bolshevik fever” was a condition best treated with suspicion. Finally, Anna was an educated professional woman, which defied the woman’s duty to home and husband. But the Roaring Twenties was also a time of rebellion, when traditions were questioned in pursuit of new experiences.

Anna Rykov was player character from a Call of Cthulhu RPG campaign that I ran in the 1990’s. The original Anna was wealthy widow who had just completed her doctoral thesis. Her specialty was not defined, and she was not as strong or confident as portrayed in the novels.

Author: joabstieglitz

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