One Crow Alone [NOOK Book]


A new Ice Age is descending. . . .

Food is expensive. Fuel is rationed. People are hungry, cold, and desperate.

Living in an isolated Polish village with her grandmother, fifteen-year-old Magda Krol has no idea of the troubles sweeping across the planet. But when her village is evacuated without her, Magda must make her way alone across the frozen wilderness to Krakow, and then on to London, where she dreams...

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One Crow Alone

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A new Ice Age is descending. . . .

Food is expensive. Fuel is rationed. People are hungry, cold, and desperate.

Living in an isolated Polish village with her grandmother, fifteen-year-old Magda Krol has no idea of the troubles sweeping across the planet. But when her village is evacuated without her, Magda must make her way alone across the frozen wilderness to Krakow, and then on to London, where she dreams of finding warmth and safety with her long-lost mother.

In One Crow Alone, the prequel to After the Snow, S. D. Crockett turns back the clock to follow practical Magda (Willo's stepmother) through a world of growing lawlessness, hunger, brutality, and fear.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A stand-alone cautionary tale about environmental change." — Kirkus Reviews
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
A prequel to After the Snow, this dystopian novel tells the story of Magda as she escapes her abandoned Polish village to travel to the bleakness of England. Magda is fifteen and lives in the village with her grandmother who has just died. Magda must find a way to bury her in the frozen ground, but she is interrupted in her preparations when she hears strangers outside. Fearing marauders, Magda hides in the cellar. When she emerges hours later, the village is totally abandoned and she does not know what has happened. Quickly burying her grandmother as best as she can, Magda packs her meager possessions and leaves with a dog and a pony that had been left behind. Along the way to the town, Magda meets Ivan, a boy just a few years older. Not trusting each other at first, they soon learn they must work together to survive. After arriving in town, they learn the village was emptied because of the cold and the food shortage. The army is sending people to camps. Ivan has some connections with the black market and agrees to deliver false passports to someone in England, where he hopes life will be better. He convinces Magda to join him and the two set off on an adventure in this bleak world where the people must constantly fight against the brutal cold and hunger. Reviewer: Shirley Nelson; Ages 10 to 14.
Kirkus Reviews
Crockett returns to the harsh, wintry world of After the Snow (2012) in this prequel, which traces the harrowing journey that begins when Magda survives the destruction of her Polish village and culminates when she meets Willo and his father. Magda, in spite of her admirable ability to find contentment in difficult situations, is a character destined to suffer, as the violence of the decaying world strips her of one caring relationship after another (aptly foreshadowing her sad fate in After the Snow). From her grandmother's death to her abandonment when pregnant with twins, life offers her little but heartache. However, her tragedies lack the emotional depth of Willo's comparable losses from the first novel, perhaps because Crockett omits the bold dialect and narrative style that made her debut characters so riveting. Also missing in this installment are the infusions of joyful humanity that provided such devastating points of contrast to the brutality of humanity's moral decline in After the Snow. Occasional brief narrative shifts that examine the lives of an elderly woman, a jaded city dweller, a soldier, a crow and Willo add interest and broaden the novel's scope, contextualizing Magda's story as one strand of suffering among many. Ultimately, this prequel lacks the inventiveness and atmospheric intensity of the first novel, but it still works as a stand-alone cautionary tale about environmental change. (Post-apocalyptic adventure. 12 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781466848443
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
  • Publication date: 10/8/2013
  • Series: After the Snow, #2
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 764,926
  • Age range: 12 - 18 Years
  • Lexile: HL600L (what's this?)
  • File size: 662 KB

Meet the Author

After the extremely hard winter of 2009, S. D. Crockett asked herself, "What if winter never ended?" and from that thought, her debut novel, After the Snow, was born. Crockett lives in the United Kingdom.

After the extremely hard winter of 2009, S. D. Crockett asked herself, "What if winter never ended?" and from that thought, her debut novel, After the Snow, was born. Crockett lives in the United Kingdom.
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Read an Excerpt



Of course there were summers.

But not then.

January. When the low wooden cottages with their graying boards and damp-swollen shutters and rickety porches on wide-planked verandas sat buried in whiteness at the foot of the hill.

When stacks of split logs were piled under snow-heavy roofs and animals shifted in dung-smelling barns and dogs forever tied bored on heavy chains.

It begins here.

With a priest.

Pulling his collar close as he limped along the snow-covered track that ran through a village called Morochov.

*   *   *

Kraa! Kraa!

How will it end?

With children digging graves.

Kraa! Kraa!

*   *   *

The priest grabbed a burnt coal from the cinder-strewn path: Bugger off! He threw it at the cawing crow. Aagh—He gripped his aching knee. Limped toward a small cottage, the hem of his coat growing damp as it skimmed the banks of shoveled snow.

He peered over the broken stick fence bounding the garden. Just a bloom of smoke hovered about the roof of the house. Icicles hung under the eaves—the faded shutters were closed tight against the cold.

Inside the cottage an old woman was dying. The priest had come to hear her last words.

How long since anyone official has been? he thought. There has been no one since the power lines came down.

As his hand rested on the gate, he caught a movement in the garden. In the deep snow under the bare apple trees a girl hacked at a half-dug grave. He could see her belted coat straining as she lifted the heavy pick above her head.

Clud clud clud. The fresh earth piled black against the snow.

“Magda,” the priest called out.

The girl stopped her cludding and came over. Breathless, she leaned the handle of the pick against the gatepost. Sweat dampened the fur under the rim of her hat. She led him silently up the icy steps of the veranda. Stamping snow in the small, open porch, they took off their boots and went into the house.

In the darkened bedroom, her grandmother lay on a high iron bed like a statue under the heavy covers. The old woman’s lips were dry and her breathing was slow and her skin had begun to tighten and sink onto the bones of her cheeks.

The priest pulled up a chair and the old woman opened her eyes.

“I am here,” she said.

“Babula—” Magda held the pale fingers and kissed her grandmother’s face and offered a cloth. The priest wiped his hands, heard the old woman’s whispered secrets, and late in the afternoon, after anointing her, he closed her eyes for the last time.

“By the sacred mysteries of man’s redemption, may Almighty God remit to you all penalties of the present life and of the life to come. May He open to you the gates of paradise and lead you to joys everlasting.”

Magda, bowing her head, said:


*   *   *

Shh! The nuts and bolts of dying are nothing more than that. Sentiment, like the big bottle of iodine that stings in a wound, was locked away in the cupboard.

*   *   *

So the priest said his words, drained the cup of vodka set out on the table, and fetched the Dudek brothers from the neighboring house. The snow that fell from their boots melted on the floorboards. They helped lay the body in the open coffin between the chairs in the kitchen, their damp soles shuffling on the bare scrubbed planks.

They didn’t talk much.

Looked at Magda as she lifted the hatch in the floor and stepped down into the cellar.

“Thank you,” Magda said, handing them a bag of potatoes. The priest too.

“She was a good woman,” said Aleksy.

“What’re you going to do now?” asked his brother Brunon, staring at the hatch in the floor.

“I don’t know,” Magda replied.

“I mean—with all them potatoes?”

Magda stepped back onto the closed cellar hatch. They left.

But when they had gone the priest asked the same thing.

“What are you going to do, Magda?”

“What do you mean?” she said, washing his cup at the sink.

“You can’t stay here on your own now your grandmother is dead. Bogdan Stopko is growing lonely. You know he has two fields—a tractor and a pony. You’re sixteen, aren’t you? He is not a bad man. And good men don’t grow like brambles.”

Magda turned from the sink. “You’re saying he’s rich—not good.”

“He’s rich in those things which I say. That’s half and half of his being good.”

She dried her hands. “I don’t know. I don’t know what I should do. It’s the middle of winter. I haven’t heard from Mama since the power lines came down.”

“Then maybe you should go to London. You can’t stay here alone forever—”

“London? How will I get to London?” Magda hung the cloth, bent down, and checked the stove; she threw in a few logs and looked up at him. “How will I do that?”

Having no answer, the priest picked his hat up off the table and left. It was growing dark outside.

His own fire needed tending.


Copyright © 2013 by S. D. Crockett

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