19 Mar 2014



SOURCE: A giveaway win, thanks Lindsay over at THE LITTLE READER LIBRARY

Central Russia, 1920.

In a country torn to shreds by civil war, Nikolai Levitsky deserts his army unit to return home to his wife and sons. But he finds his village silent and empty. Only a wraithlike old woman remains. She has witnessed the darkest forces of human nature at work. She babbles incoherently of Koschei, the Deathless One, the stuff of chilling Russian folk tales, and drags a bewildered Levitsky into the forest to see first-hand what this Koschei has done.

The men of the village have been massacred among the trees. The women and children have disappeared.  

Suddenly, the terrifying legends of childhood begin to feel very real.

Levitsky must journey through haunting forests and burnt-out villages to find his family, following the black and charred paths of army units that now destroy everything they once fought for.

As bitter winter sets in, he is forced to confront not only the fear of what lies ahead, but also his own part in the terror that has seized his homeland. And he must decide what his part will be from now on, as a soldier, as a father and as a man.
...... Inner front cover. May contain spoilers, scroll across to view.

FIRST SENTENCE {Chapter 1}: The village cowered with doors closed and windows shuttered.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {Page 68}: Babushka would have said that Galina would remain a rusalka now, an unquiet spirit that would only rest once she was avenged, and for an awful second I imagined her roaming the clearing moaning for her husband.

MY THOUGHTS: Having read and reviewed the authors debut novel, DRY SEASON , and described him as a 'master story teller in the making' I was intrigued to read this his fourth book.

Every bit as good and even better than his first novel, as well as concentrating on his characters Dan Smith has done a wonderful job in creating a very readable historical thriller.

Set in 1920's Russia Red Winter is a chilling read that is not without its blood fuelled moments and yet at its heart is a powerful story all about relationships, the nature of human behaviour and what it is to have hope.

Beautifully written and obviously thoroughly researched (my only concern being that I had slight reservations about the ending which I thought rather idealised). Not only was my attention and interest gripped from the beginning but it was held throughout no doubt helped greatly by the fact that the author wove some Russian folklore into the story.

Tense, rich in atmosphere (who would have thought a journey through a forest could be so compelling?) and so vividly described that I found myself transported to the most harsh and uncompromising of landscapes, I was right, Dan Smith is indeed a master story teller.

Copyright: Tracy Terry @ Pen and Paper. All original content on http://pettywitter.blogspot.co.uk/ is created by the website owner, including but not limited to text, design, code, images, photographs and videos are considered to be the Intellectual Property of the website owner, whether copyrighted or not, and are protected by DMCA Protection Services using the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Title 17 Chapter 512 (c)(3). Reproduction or re-publication of this content is prohibited without permission. In addition I would also urge that if you are reading this on any other page you contact the original blog owner/reviewer.


Kelly said...

This is not a time period or location I've read much about. Considering my love of historical fiction, though, perhaps this book needs to go on my wish list.

Interesting they would put spoilers on the book sleeve considering how may folks read those to determine whether to buy a book or not.

Suko said...

Tracy, I'm glad you enjoyed this historical thriller. Terrific review as always.

Alexia561 said...

Sounds like a fascinating read! I don't usually read historical fiction, but this one has me intrigued. Another great review, Tracy!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I don't mind an idealized ending as long as the rest is good. Well, as long as it still makes sense. Still doesn't seem to have dissuaded you from enjoying the book.

Brian Joseph said...

I must say that the description of the book makes this one sound terribly scary and effective. Strong characters in a story like this are sometimes rare. Putting the two together can make a very good book.The cover also adds to the atmosphere.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

Love that it was even better than the first. In my experience, that rarely happens.

Cherie Reich said...

Thanks for the review! The book has a fantastic cover and looks like a great read.

Sherry Ellis said...

It sounds like Dan Smith is a very talented author, since all four of his books have been excellent.

Heather said...

This author is new to me. I'll have to check out his novels. Thanks for the heads up.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Naida said...

Sounds fantastic and I'm liking this setting. Glad you enjoyed it.

Brandi Kosiner said...

Great to hear it was written and researched well

Arti said...

Sounds like my kind of book, totally, the first line itself intrigues. Your review is brilliant as always, I am so happy the author lived up to his image.

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Tracy, this sounds like a fabulous read. Clever idea to cover up the ‘spoilers’ but of course, I couldn’t resist reading them. Have a great weekend, Barbara.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Like Barbara, I applaud your efforts to keep the spoilers at bay, but I am just too curious (NOSY)to resist the temptation to peek!!

Coming as this does, close on the heels of me reading the excellent, 'Kiss Of The Butterfly', which deals with vampires of Balkan folklore, 'Red Winter' is definitely going onto my TBR list, so thanks for the recommendation and great review.

Dan Smith is a new name to me, however I have checked out his site and all of his books look worthy of some serious reading time, especially 'The Child Thief', which has to be the first port of call for me.

Thanks for sharing and have a great weekend,


Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

You have sold me on this one. The fact that you loved the first book you read by this author and loved this one even more has me intrigued. Can't wait to check this one out! It sounds amazing. :)

Karen said...

I'm glad that the author lived up to the potential you saw in him.

Betty Manousos said...

i thoroughly enjoyed your brilliant review, tracy.
i'm glad you enjoyed it. sounds like a great read.

happy sunday!
big hugs~

Lindsay said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed this one Tracy, this is a lovely review and it's wonderful when a book grips your attention and is atmospheric.

Gina R said...

Sometimes the simplest starts can produce a remarkable work....not to mention that creepy cover! Subtle but effective! Thanks for the fab review!