Metro 2033

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For the video game based on the novel, see Metro 2033 (video game).
Metro 2033
Metro 2033 russian book front cover.jpg
Original Russian edition cover
Author Dmitry Glukhovsky
Country Russia
Language Russian, translated into 34 other languages
Series Metro
Genre Post-apocalyptic
Publisher Eksmo, Orionbooks
Publication date
2005 (Russia)
2010 (United States)
Media type Print (Hardcover, Paperback, Nocower)
Pages 348 (Russian edition)
458 (English edition)
ISBN 978-5-17-059678-2
Followed by Metro 2034

Metro 2033 (Russian: Метро 2033) is a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It is set in the Moscow Metro, where the last survivors hide after a global nuclear holocaust. It was published in 2005 in Russia and on March 28, 2010 in the United States.[1]

Metro 2033 has spawned two sequels, Metro 2034 and Metro 2035, the Metro franchise, including eponymous video game title.

Plot synopsis[edit]


In 2013, a nuclear war occurred, forcing a large amount of Moscow's surviving population to relocate to underground metro stations in search of refuge from the outside world. Eventually, those who settled in the underground train stations developed their homes into independent station-countries. Soon, new factions grew, ranging from the independent peacekeepers the "Rangers of the Order", to the communist "Red Line" faction and the fascist "Fourth Reich", which constantly engaged in skirmishes with the Red Line, to the more powerful factions such as "Polis", which contained the greatest military power and the most knowledge of the past, and the "Hanza" regime, which controlled the main ring of metro stations by its sheer economic power. As these small states began to evolve, the Red Line and the Fourth Reich quickly entered a permanent state of war, as both sought to destroy the other over their own ideology, no matter the cost. As the war raged, those stations who refused to join either side were either demolished by the factions, merged into the Hanza regime, raided by criminal bandits, or formed their own independent stations. Other stations were outright destroyed by animals who had been mutated by the nuclear maelstrom, and stalked the metro tunnels looking to kill anything for food. The most recently encountered, and the most dangerous, mutants that exist were the Dark Ones – paranormal, otherworldly, mutated humans who lived on the ravaged surface, and were able to control human minds and alter a human's memories, psychically killing them with the power of their own minds. While most of the stations were controlled by the 3 main factions, several stations were abandoned, while others were butchered and occupied by mutants; but some stations formed an independent alliance, like the station VDNKh ("Exhibition"). Within that station is where the events of Metro 2033 unfold.


The protagonist of the novel is a 26-year-old man named Artyom who was born before the nuclear holocaust that occurred in 2013. When he was a baby, he was saved from a horde of carnivorous rats by Sukhoi, a military officer. The rats killed Artyom's mother and many of the survivors with her. He has since been raised by Sukhoi, his adoptive father, who is one of the authorities of VDNKh, one of the many shelter stations in the Russian metro. He grew up and became one of the security guards in the VDNKh.

In late 2033, Artyom is completing his shift with his colleagues. When his shift ends, he meets a mysterious man who calls himself Hunter. Hunter asks him to tell Sukhoi that he was looking for him. The three gather together and discuss the situation at VDNKh. While Hunter believes that they should keep fighting these threats, Sukhoi has obviously lost all hope, and for good reason. While Hunter is leaving, he asks Artyom for a word outside.

He blackmails Artyom by managing to make him spill out his secret of Artyom's lone expedition into the Botanical Gardens, as a child; 10 years earlier, Artyom and his friend entered the Botanical Gardens through a secret exit during the night. They stayed there for only a few seconds, but they escaped when they heard the Dark Ones, who ventured in after they forgot to seal the exit. Hunter makes him promise to travel to Polis in case he does not return, as Hunter is going on an expedition to stop the dark ones who have been attacking the station.

After escorting a caravan to a member of the VDNKh Commonwealth, Artyom meets Bourbon. In exchange for a large number of cartridges, Artyom promises to help Bourbon through several tunnels, but the journey comes to a tragic end when Bourbon seemingly slips into insanity and dies. Luckily for Artyom, a mysterious stranger named Khan arrives, who helps him retrieve Bourbon's equipment. Artyom discovers that Bourbon actually planned on killing and looting him. After this, both plan a route to Polis. They decide to gather force to travel through a strange tunnel and fend off the monsters inside. Both reach Kitai-Gorod station, where they split after it is attacked by the Fourth Reich. While fleeing the station, Artyom comes across an old man and helps him, who in turn helps him get to his next destination, Kuznetsky Most, where he runs into the Reich again and is apprehended for murdering a station guard. As he is about to be executed, he is rescued by the Revolutionaries.

Artyom is eventually dropped off at Paveletskaya, and befriends a man named Mark, who bets against the station chief in a rat race to win visas to travel through Hanseatic League-occupied Koltsevaya Line. If they lose, they will shovel manure for a year on the Paveletskaya-Koltsevaya. After losing the bet, Artyom quickly escapes and travels through an unfinished tunnel. There, he meets Brother Timothy, who takes him to the Watchtower, which seems to be a monastery of sorts, and offers Artyom shelter. Artyom eventually tires of the fundamentalist teachings about God, escapes the station, and continues his journey. He then goes to Serpukhovskaya and briefly checks his direction. Arriving at Polyanka, he overhears a discussion about Metro-2, a mysterious subway system meant to connect major government buildings in the case of disaster. He talks with the people there and gets inspired by their thoughtful speech. He finally arrives at Polis. He is welcomed by the guard's commander, and informs the man that he has a message for Melnik and to wait a day. During this time, he meets a young man and local 'Brahmin', Daniel, who is well informed of Polis affairs, and even has information on Artyom's next destination, the Library. Brahmins are the important scientists who were especially protected by the government from the nuclear holocaust and given many supplies and advanced weaponry to survive.

The next day, Melnik meets Artyom, who informs him there is a council meeting that day to discuss the situation outside of Polis. During the meeting, Artyom explains the situation at VDNKh to them. At first, they decline to help, but a sect of the council later offers him help and tells him to go the Great Library with Melnik, Daniel, and another person. They want him to retrieve a very old and extremely powerful book. After getting there, things soon go to hell as creatures called Librarians attack them. Melnik and his partner stay behind while Artyom and Daniel progress farther into the library. Daniel is killed and Artyom returns to Melnik with one thing; a map to a location named D-6. Melnik tells him to go to Smolenskaya via the surface alone, since his partner has been wounded. Artyom somehow makes his way to the station despite all the odds. There, he is rescued by Melnik from monsters.

Artyom and Melnik make a plan to help VDNKh by going to D-6 and launching pre-war missiles to the Dark Ones' lair. They begin their journey by traveling to Kievskaya. Here, Melnik inquires about a certain Tretyak and goes on a patrol with the security commander, Anton. They discuss several things, namely the disappearances of the station's residents, and the conditions of the adjacent station, Park Pobedy, but there is no way in or out of the station. They return to the station and meet Treytak. As Artyom has no passport, Melnik and Tretyak venture to Mayakovskaya to look for an entrance to D-6. After one night, Artyom receives a message from Melnik telling him that Tretyak had been killed and that he would be back to the station in a day. Oleg, Anton's child, disappears. Artyom finds the child's music-maker outside a previously unseen entrance, and the duo take it to what seems to be Park Pobedy.[clarification needed] They are both knocked unconscious by Savage Cannibals of the Great Worm cult and taken hostage. There, the cannibals are about to feast on the duo and hypnotize Oleg but are rescued by Melnik and a team of stalkers. They then begin their journey to D-6 via Metro-2 with the duo, Oleg, and two Savage Cannibals who are taken hostage.

The team eventually finds an entrance to Metro-2. They travel through the metro and pass under the Kremlin, whose metro-station contains a mutated bio-weapon (a remnant of the war) that hypnotizes humans and consumes them. Oleg and two stalkers are killed by it. The group throws a flamethrower gas canister towards it and shoots it, which injures the monster and forces it to retreat, allowing the party to escape. Melnik then decides that Ulman, another stalker, and Artyom need to find a high point to direct the missiles while Melnik and the remaining stalkers will find the missile control room. Artyom and Ulman will give them coordinates to fire the missiles at the dark ones from Ostankino Tower. On the way there, they stop at VDNKh, which is not doing well because, since Artyom left, half the people are gone, and sometimes the dark ones break through the guard posts and make their way to the living quarters. Once they make their way to the top of the Ostankino Tower, they transmit the coordinates. At that very moment, Artyom has a vision from the dark ones, who tell him that they just wanted to cooperate with humans and the killing was just an attempt to communicate with them. But when Artyom regains self-control, the Botanical Gardens are already destroyed by the missiles. Realising that the Dark Ones were killed in vain, Artyom tears his mask in agony for what he has done and heads back home.


The book first appeared online in 2002 and later became an interactive experiment, drawing in thousands of readers from around Russia and abroad. In 2005 it was printed by Eksmo, Orionbooks and became a nationwide and worldwide bestseller. The English edition was released on March 18, 2010 to coincide with the release of the video game adaptation of the novel.[1]


By 2010, over 500,000 copies of Metro 2033 had been sold in Russia alone.[2] Over 2 million had read the book on its official site before it even was published in print.[3] Foreign book rights have been sold to more than 20 countries. In 2007, Glukhovsky was awarded the Encouragement Award of the European Science Fiction Society at the Eurocon in Copenhagen for his novel Metro 2033.[4]

It was well received by readers. The user-based book review site Goodreads gave it a score of 3.9 out of 5 stars.[5] Amazon readers have averaged 4.5 out of 5.[6]


A video game, Metro 2033, developed by 4A Games, was released worldwide in March 2010 for PC, and Xbox 360. Dmitry said that he had chosen a video game adaptation over a film as it gave him more artistic freedom to work.

As of November 2010, Glukhovsky was in talks with Hollywood-based studios and producers to sell the film rights.[2] As of September 2012, MGM has picked up the screen rights to Metro 2033, setting F. Scott Frazier "Pavito" to pen the script. Mark Johnson is producing via his Gran Via Productions.[7]

A sequel developed by 4A Games, Metro: Last Light, was released in May 2013, but does not follow any direct storylines of the book Metro 2034.

Sequel and franchise[edit]

Glukhovsky wrote a follow-up novel, Metro 2034 which was published in 2009. The storyline takes place nearly 1 year after the events of Metro 2033. The follow-up was also well received.[8]

Under the franchise Universe of Metro 2033 various authors have published 32 volumes of fiction by the end of 2012 with 33 further titles scheduled for publication. In addition, two anthologies of short stories by almost a score of authors has been published.

Two authors have created their personal underground universes based in other metropolitan areas.[9]


External links[edit]