From out of the whiteness, a dark figure comes....
December 1930, Ukraine. After the horrors of war, Luka wants a quiet life with his family. His village has, so far, remained hidden from the advancing Soviet brutality - but everything changes the day a stranger arrives, pulling a sled bearing a terrible cargo: the bodies of two children.
When the villagers' fear turns deadly, they think they have saved themselves. And then a little girl vanishes. Luka is the only man with the skills to find the stolen child in these frozen lands. And though his toughest enemy is the man he tracks through the harsh winter landscape, his strongest bond is a promise to his family back home....
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Long, gruelling journey
This is a violent, suspenseful yarn that takes one through a bitter winter in the early days of the Soviet regime. The book falls into two parts largely, but I will not spoil the story by explaining why. Throughout, it is a powerful story that reminded me of Tom Rob Smith's Child 44; also set in the dark early Soviet era. The environment is beautifully, vividly described, and as someone who has travelled in this region at this time of year, it all feels very realistic. Like all such stories, it struggles to maintain the tension over the course of a fairly long book, but the narrator is an easy listen. The denouement is perhaps a little contrived, but this is a tense, violent story, very well told.
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