Equal parts thriller, love story, and fairytale, Printz Medal-winning author Marcus Sedgwick's Blood Red Snow White is a gripping, romantic adventure novel based on the true story of Arthur Ransome's experiences with love and betrayal in war-torn Russia.
There never was a story that was happy through and through.
When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Leon Trotsky's personal secretary.
Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become.
Blood Red Snow White, a Soviet-era thriller about the author of the Swallows and Amazons series, from renowned Printz award winning author Marcus Sedgwick, is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Sedgwick masterfully evokes the tumultuous atmosphere of Russia leading up to the creation of the communist Soviet Union, with colorful depictions of major historical figures like the Romanov tsar and tsarina, Grigori Rasputin, Leon Trotsky, and Vladimir Lenin.
Marcus Sedgwick is the author of Saint Death, The Ghosts of Heaven, She Is Not Invisible, Midwinterblood, White Crow, and Revolver.
Praise for Blood Red Snow White:
"Sedgwick uses vivid, fairy tale imagery to describe historical events." Publishers Weekly
"Drenched in atmosphere, [Blood Red Snow White] gives vivid depictions of snowy Russia . . . , eerie portrayals of Rasputin and the czar’s family, and the rise of Trotsky and Lenin. . . . trademark Sedgwick envelope-pushing." Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Marcus Sedgwick:
“Sedgwick is one of the most sophisticated, thought-provoking voices in YA novels.” Booklist on The Ghosts of Heaven
This title has Common Core connections.
Novels by Marcus Sedgwick:
Saint Death: A propulsive, compelling, and unsparing novel set in the grimly violent world of the human and drug trade on the US-Mexican border.
Blood Red Snow White: A gripping, romantic adventure novel based on the true story of Arthur Ransome's experiences with love and betrayal in war-torn Russia.
The Ghosts of Heaven: A Printz Honor Book! Timeless, beautiful, and haunting, spirals connect four episodes, from prehistory through the far future.
She Is Not Invisible: When her father goes missing, a blind girl talented in identifying patterns and her brother are thrust into a mystery.
Midwinterblood: A Printz Medal Winner! Seven stories of passion and love separated by centuries but mysteriously intertwined.
White Crow: A scary, thought provoking novel about secrets that are better left buried.
Revolver: A Printz Honor Book! A taut frontier survivor story, set at the time of the Alaska gold rush.
Graphic novel by Marcus Sedgwick, art by Thomas Taylor:
Scarlett Hart: Monster Hunter: A rip-roaring romp full of hairy horrors, villainous villains, and introducing the world’s toughest monster hunterScarlett Hart!
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.90(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 18 Years|
About the Author
Marcus Sedgwick was born and raised in Kent in South East England, but now lives in the French Alps. His books have won and been shortlisted for many awards; most notably, he has been shortlisted for Britain’s Carnegie Medal six times, has received two Printz Honors, for Revolver and Ghosts of Heaven, and in 2013 won the Printz Award for Midwinterblood.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This was an interesting mix of fairytale and spy story with a side order of romance. A fictional interpretation of the time Arthur Ransome (author of Swallows and Amazons etc)spent as a spy for seemingly both the Bolsheviks and the British at the time of the Russian Revolution. He was certainly a brave chap in a very British, slightly cackhanded man abroad kinda way. The spy story bit is bookended by fairytale type sequences, the contrast of which doesn't work terribly well, but as Ransome himself started be writing fairytales about Russia, is at least apt. An interesting premise, made more so by the reality behind the fiction, and the British Secret Services reports on Ransome are reproduced at the end of the book.
This book is fantastic. The way the story develops, and the fairy tale style adds another dimension to it. I was hooked from the start. It tells the story of Arthur Ransome (of Swallows and Amazons fame) and his time in Russia during the revolution. He led such an interesting life that I never knew about. Based on fact, but with a lot of fiction thrown in, the story is seamless. The events of the war are told in such a way that I really understood what was happening, and I learnt more about the subject than when I studied it for A Level. The chapter titles were very clever too, particularly towards the end.Very well put together, and enjoyable to read.
There has been renewed interest in the beloved children's author Arthur Ransome lately due to the publication of a new biography: The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome by Roland Chambers. What many people don't know is that years before he wrote the children's classics, including Swallows and Amazons, for which he is so fondly remembered, he lived and worked in Russia at the time of the revolution. Published in 2007, Marcus Sedgwick's wonderful novel also tackles Ransome's time in Russia. Sedgwick is one of those teen authors whose books are crossover adult reads too, and I can't recommend this one highly enough - it has revolution and politics, spies and intrigue, romance and family drama, all steeped in Russian fairy tales. Stuck in a marriage where he didn't love his wife, Ransome ran away to Russia in 1913, although he regretted having to leave his daughter behind. There he taught himself the language and became a journalist on the Daily News at the start of the Great War. He also covered the 1917 revolutions, and was close to Lenin and Trotsky. There he met the real love of his life, Evgenia, who was Trotsky's personal secretary; they married eventually. He was somewhat sympathetic to the Bolshelvik cause, although remained loyal to his homeland, and this led to MI6 using him through their agent Bruce Lockhart (whose Memoirs of a British Agent - Being an account of the author's early life in many lands and of his official mission to Moscow in 1918 was a bestseller in the 1930s); MI5 also kept tabs on him for years. Ransome's occasional journeys to and from the UK were full of adventure and peril, especially the time the Estonians used him to deliver a secret armistice proposal to Litvinov in Moscow in 1919, where his good reputation with both sides was his life-saver. It was at the start of his self-imposed exile that he wrote his book Old Peter's Russian Tales: these are full of magical talismans, poor peasant folk on quests, cunning animals, greedy men and wicked stepmothers, and Baba Yaga of course. These moral tales are often dark and many don't have happy endings, but really get into the Russian psyche. Sedgwick's novelisation is no dry biography. He starts by using the fairy tales to tell the problems of the people, embodied by a great Russian bear spurred into action against the Tsar by two friends arguing in the forest - they are Lenin and Trotsky. This is superb scene-setting, and Ransome wanders into it and instantly falls in love with a woman stirring a pot on a stove in an office ... 'This is what you want,' she said, almost in a whisper. She nodded at the pot, and Arthur found himself drawn towards her. He looked inside. 'Potatoes,' she murmured, as if it were the most beautiful word in the world. Her eyes lit up and Arthur realised how very hungry he was. He stood no more than a weak moment's decision away from her, and looked into her eyes. This is what you want. And that was how the young writer found love, just when he had stopped looking for it. How can you not be reeled in by the utter romance in those words. Combined with all the derring do of the amateur spy, the author delivers a totally fabulous novel. Swallows and Amazons was his favourite childhood book, and when the National Archives released the files on Ransome, it was a story demanding to be told. Some of the fascinating telegrams from the archives are reproduced in the Appendix. Highly recommended indeed.
Arthur Ransome left his family and his home in England to travel to Russia where he found work as a journalist. His love story with Russia started the moment he set foot on its snow-covered ground and continued as he compiled his first published book--a collection of Russian fairy tales. Over the years Russia would continue to draw Ransome back to it through the first murmurings of unrest in Tsarist Russia, into the first bloody revolution, and beyond. Reporting on the turbulent political climate for an English newspaper draws Ransome unwittingly into the middle of the conflict between White and Red Russia as he is courted to be both a spy and a double agent. All Arthur wants is to hide away and marry the Russian woman he loves. But that proves difficult with her position as Trotsky's secretary and his own murky sympathies. With history being made and the world changing from moment to moment, Arthur will have to choose a side and make hard choices to survive in Blood Red, Snow White (2016) by Marcus Sedgwick. Blood Red, Snow White was originally published in the UK in 2007 and made its first appearance in the US when it was reprinted in 2016. This book follows the sensational real story of novelist Arthur Ransome during his years in Russia as a suspected spy before he would write his Swallows and Amazons children adventure novels. Blood Red, Snow White was originally written shortly after Ransome's MI6 file was made public--details Sedgwick relates in an author's note which includes excerpts from those files. This novel is broken into three parts. The beginning, written in third person, relates the beginning of Arthur's life and journey to Russia as well as the early stages of the Russian Revolution as short fairy tales. The second part of the novel, in a closer third person point of view, follows Arthur over the course of one night in Moscow as he decides if he will agree to act as a British spy. In part three Arthur narrates his story in first person as he tries to make his way back into Russian and extricate himself and Evgenia from the political machinations around them. This fast-paced, literary novel looks at a moment in history through an unexpected lens. Readers familiar with Ransome's own books will, of course, find this novel fascinating. Although some of this novel is, necessarily, speculation it is well-researched and thorough with detailed information about Russia during Ransome's time there as well as key details of Ransome's life. Blood Red, Snow White is an approachable and ambitious novel filled with atmospheric settings and a gripping story of love, adventure, spies, and Russia.