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Blood Red, Snow White Hardcover – August 6, 2007
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—A historical novel based on the life of British author and journalist Arthur Ransome that is told in three distinct styles, each of which reflects an aspect of Ransome's career. It opens in the style of a fairy tale, brilliantly setting the scene in Saint Petersburg in 1913, when the bright, impetuous young writer leaves his wife and daughter in England, teaches himself Russian, and sets about collecting the stories that appear in his first book, Old Peter's Russian Tales, published in 1916. But by then, everything had changed. "The time for princes and tsars and grand duchesses and especially holy madmen was gone. In its place came a world of war and revolution, of tanks and telephones, of murder and assassination." Here the narrative shifts and uses flashbacks and the third person to report the events of the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed back to the British press. Ransome becomes romantically involved with Evgenia, Trotsky's personal secretary, and is caught up in the dangerous game of political intrigue and information exchange. He becomes a pawn in the ongoing power struggle, and his every move is suspect, but he wants only to get himself and Evgenia safely out of the country. The narrative shifts to Arthur's first-person account of getting out and back into Russia and escaping with his beloved. An author's note, a time line, and Secret Service files are appended to inform readers about facts behind the spy thriller elements. VERDICT This well-written tale might be a hard sell to a lot of teens, but those who are fans of Sedgwick's earlier titles, history buffs, and readers of Ransome's classic "Swallows and Amazons" adventures will be intrigued by this colorful and multilayered work.—Luann Toth, School Library Journal
'a fascinating blend of history, spy story and love story, stylishly told.' -- Jennifer Taylor THE BOOKSELLER 'Marcus Sedgwick achieves a bravura opening, combining Russian folk tales, narrative history, fictionalised biography and employing the repeated metaphor of a giant rampaging bear to symbolise the political awakened Russian massives.' -- John Newman PUBLISHING NEWS 'at once engaging and told with an extraordinary sense of lyricism... an extraordinary novel that delineates with clarity of vision individual concerns against the great sweeping expanses of societal unrest. Sedgwick's acheivement is in fusing these elements into an absorbing and stimulating tale that cements his position as one of the most powerful and innovative writers of contemporary fiction for this age.' -- Jake Hope BOOKS FOR KEEPS 'a mesmerising retelling of Ransome's time in Russia during the Revolution, and should appeal to adults as well as Sedgwick's loyal band of teenage readers.' -- Danuta Kean THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY 'masterly account of the Russian Revolution, seen through the fictionalised eyes of the author Arthur Ransome ... a doomed love story of power and passion.' -- Amanda Craig THE TIMES 'challenging, stark and uncompromising, a thoroughly satisfying read for older teenagers.' -- Philip Womack LITERARY REVIEW 'Marcus Sedgwick is writing with increased authority these days, and his Blood Red Snow White is a gripping story.' -- Nicholas Tucker THE INDEPENDENT 'It is fairy tale, love story and historical narrative innovatively woven together in an ambitious construct that will appeal to intelligent readers of 13+.' -- Dinah Hall THE DAILY TELEGRAPH '... a sophisticated novel, making convincing use of Ransome's voice... This compelling account, written with a rare sureness of touch, and tender about Ransome's relationship with his abandoned daughter, will reward readers of any age.' -- Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES '... sophisticated... written with a rare sureness of touch.' -- Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES 'Pacey as any spy thriller... a jolly satisfying read.' -- Venetia Vyvyan UNDERCOVER '[Sedgwick's] complex, beautifully written novel draws haunting contrasts between Russia's myth and its harsh reality.' -- James Lovegrove FINANCIAL TIMES 'a compelling and beautifully written story of a man caught up in extraordinary times. Very effective and worth reading.' -- Thomas Murphy FLIPSIDE '[a] gem that sheds light on a well loved children's author.' -- Rebecca Berry WRITE AWAY 'compelling... beguilingly written...' BOOKTRUSTED.CO.UK 'touching' FIRST NEWS 'An adventure novel infused with the power of myth and folk legend' FINANCIAL TIMES 'A brilliantly original novel' THE IRISH TIMES '...Blood Red Snow White shows a master storyteller at the top of his game' SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST
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Top Customer Reviews
Quick & Dirty: Russian fiction based on real history.
Opening Sentence: Beyond the sunrise, halfway to the moon, and so very far away it would make your feet weep to think about it, lies a land vast in size and deep in sadness.
Blood Red, Snow White started off great. It began like a fairytale told by a loving, wise grandfather. The writing in this part was captivating, pulling me into the story, imagining the ‘young man’ and his leather suitcase. I loved it. And then it’s handed over to the young boy and told from Arthur’s perspective. Worst mistake ever.
Even in a tale with a happy ending, there may be sadness on the way.
The Russian history is interesting enough but unfortunately not my kind of read. I kept wondering whether it was the same author who began this story or not! How can a book do a 180 from such enchantment? We learn about Arthur’s travels, how he’s engrossed in the war without meaning to. However, it was a very slow, draining read.
I was surprised to learn it is based on a true story and I used that as an excuse to explain away much of the bleakness.
The only part of this novel I enjoyed was learning about Russia. There was a lot of narration and Arthur’s love for it had me wondering what such a country is like.
If, like me, you are drawn in by the title then I apologise in advance as you will be sorely disappointed. There is nothing remotely similar to the dreamy fairytale I imagined.
Arthur came to the story and found himself a job and somewhere to live.
He also found himself in the middle of a story beyond anyone’s imagination.
FTC Advisory: Roaring Book Press/Macmillan provided me with a copy Blood Red, Snow White. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
When I began this book, I was immediately transported back to the time of Bolsheviks and fairy tales.Read more
-PLEASE keep in mind that these are my opinions!Read more