Red Winter by Dan Smith

Red Winter
Dan Smith
Pegasus Crime

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“. . . a gripping tale of horror and redemption . . .”

By 1920 Nikolai “Kolya” Levitsky has seen and done enough terrible things to give him nightmares for the rest of his life. Seeking the solace of peace and family he deserts the army he once served as a proud, highly-decorated soldier of the Revolution. He returns to his home village only to discover the horrors of civil war have struck at all he holds dear. The village is deserted, the older men and women dead, and his wife and two sons are missing.

Kolya learns they have been taken by a man styling himself Koschei the Deathless One after a legendary creature of Russian mythology. He suspects “Koschei” and his men are Chekists, the ultra-fanatical soldiers entrusted by the Bolshevik government to crush all resistance to the Revolution through terror. Kolya knows the Chekists’ methods all too well. Setting out in pursuit of his wife and children, Kolya rides his faithful horse through the bleak early winter forests and steppe, and becomes aware that he himself is being pursued. His mission becomes a race against time to locate and rescue his loved ones before he’s taken and executed by his former comrades.

Trust is hard to come by in a Russia torn by civil war and struck by the terror of the Cheka, but Kolya encounters reluctant allies and even friendship from unexpected quarters. Ultimately he must decide – become the hardened soldier once more or never see his wife and sons again. Red Winter presents a gripping tale of horror and redemption set in the midst of the Russian Civil War.

Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews