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The subject of this article appears in the Universe of Metro 2033 book series.

A flame at the peak of the ruin of Sky Tower? Twenty years after all of that? It's a sign that people live in Wrocław! Robert J. Szmidt i.e. Destroyer of Worlds, a known Polish post-apocalyptic writer, will take you to post-German sewers stretching beneath the once blooming city - to the abyss of dangers, violence and betrayal. But nothing will be able to prepare you for the unexpected, amazing ending. It's an honour that I can welcome Robert in my Universe of Metro 2033.

— Dmitry Glukhovsky

The Abyss (Polish: Otchłań) is a novel that is part of the Universe of Metro 2033, a long-running series of short stories, novellas and novels written by different authors, all set in the world of MetroThe Abyss, written by Polish author Robert J. Szmidt, was originally published in August of 2015. Although there is currently no English version of the book, like other titles from the series that were originally created in a different language The Abyss was translated to Russian (by Sergey Legeza) and released there in May of 2016.

The Universe of Metro 2033 series continues to enjoy growing popularity in Poland. Szmidt's work is the second full-length Polish novel published as part of the project (after Majka's The Promised District) and the fourth Polish entry in the Universe following two previous collections of short stories by Polish authors, In the Firelight and Whispers of the Fallen. Similarly to the Italian author Tullio Avoledo, Szmidt was invited to take part in the project as an experienced writer with an already existing considerable fanbase of readers.


The Abyss is set in Wrocław, a sizeable city in the southwestern part of Poland. Tens of thousands of people there lived through the Attack to see another day by hiding in the abundance of Wrocław's sewage system, some of which dates back to the 19th century. Unfortunately, the world's climate was disrupted by nuclear warfare, bringing onto the city a 2 year long nuclear winter. Even more of the survivors were gradually embraced by death thanks to the radiation, famines, and epidemics that followed in the first few years of post-apocalyptic adversity. 20 years later, Wrocław is being consumed by a growing mutated jungle that breeds dangerous new species of wildlife, from the terrifying flying manta ray-like "skrzydłocz" to the hulking otherworldly "stąpacz", all complemented by just as fatal vegetation.

Leftover traces of humanity have banded into enclaves - clannish societies inhabiting Wrocław's underground tunnels; the cannibalistic "Lecterites" are advancing onto the city from its eastern suburbs, western neighbourhoods are dominated by violent factions of former ultras and dresiarz gangs, whereas the southern sewers are populated by seemingly the most civilised groups. The protagonist of The Abyss, known as "Nauczyciel" (the Teacher), is a 47 year old "Remembering One" - an adult born long before the war and valued for his knowledge. He has managed to secure enough privileges for his 20 year old deaf-mute and mentally handicapped son so that he may bear the harsh conditions of post-apocalyptic life, but everything changes when the old leader of his enclave is succeeded by his young heir.

After a devastating turn of events, the Teacher is forced to flee his home to ensure the survival of his disabled child. Together they embark on a hazardous hike through the ruins of Wrocław, meeting along the way such varied characters like the crudely dexterous stalker called "Farciarz" (Lucky) or the extremely cheeky 14 year old girl "Iskra" (Spark). As the Teacher does everything to save his son and escape his own dark past, this narrative leads to an unexpected conclusion full of plot twists.