The Winter Soldier (Hardcover)
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"A dream of a novel... Part mystery, part war story, part romance." --Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See
Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single, mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.
But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal, makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.
From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is the story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make, and the precious opportunities to atone.
About the Author
Daniel Mason is a physician and author of the novels The Piano Tuner and A Far Country. His work has been translated into twenty-eight languages and adapted for opera and theater. A recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts, he is currently a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at Stanford University, where he teaches courses in the humanities and medicine. He lives in the Bay Area with his family.
"The Winter Soldier brims with improbable narrative pleasures...These pages crackle with excitement--and charging cavalries, false identities, arranged marriages, scheming industrialists and missing persons...Within the meticulously researched and magnificently realized backdrop of European dissolution, Mason finds his few lost souls, and shepherds them toward an elusive peace. Lucius's "dream of being able to see another person's thinking" is not only the controlling metaphor of The Winter Soldier, but the work of literature more broadly. Lucius may fail, but the novel he carries is a spectacular success."—Anthony Marra, New York Times
"The beauty of Mason's new novel persists even through scenes of unspeakable agony. That tension reflects the span of his talent...The story that unfolds in this forsaken place is so captivating that you may feel as unable to leave it as Lucius does."—Ron Charles, Washington Post
"Epic...Daniel Mason has harnessed the harsh clarity of winter to frame his urgent, cinematically beautiful third novel...Lucius is an irresistible protagonist...Not only does Mason make every crumb of pertinent history, culture, and geography so real throughout this saga that a reader feels instantly teleported into all of it: The Winter Soldier delivers, in shocking detail, a relentless inventory of the era's medical knowledge and practices...Mason has created a magnificent world, urging us to savor every grain of it."—Joan Frank, San Francisco Chronicle
"As lyrical as a Viennese waltz and as delicate as crystal, Mason's riveting novel examines the human heart and the wounds of war with clear eyes and compassion."—People
"What I've found most remarkable about Mason's fiction is the quality of his revelations, his ability to unveil temperaments, habits, natures...Although The Winter Soldier contains some of the most brutal moments of suffering I've encountered in fiction, they're never there just to move the story along. They allow the reader to sit very close to someone in great pain and listen to him."—Wyatt Mason, New York Times Magazine
"I have been a Daniel Mason fan since The Piano Tuner. His abilities as a storyteller and a writer of the most gorgeous prose leave you wanting more. The Winter Soldier is a tour de force. I was immersed in the grandeur of Imperial Vienna and the frozen battlefields of the Eastern Front, and in this beautiful tale of love and war, and of our frailty and resilience in the face of both."—Abraham Verghese, bestselling author of Cutting for Stone
"Part mystery, part war story, part romance, The Winter Soldier is a dream of a novel -- impeccably researched and totally immersive. The unsinkable Margarete is a mesmerizing character, and the book's investigation into the psychiatric toll of war on its combatants could not be more timely. This novel convinces you with every sentence."—Anthony Doerr, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of All the Light We Cannot See
"So real, so rich and detailed, that the room in which I was reading vanished. I was transported to a lost world of the past. Suspenseful, thrilling, aching with emotion. Living with Lucius and Margarete, it was the First World War as I have never felt it."—Andrew Sean Greer, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Less
"With a physician's precision and an artist's eye, author Daniel Mason captures the emotional and physical upheaval wrought by war. Right from the start, the novel thrums with tension, whisking the reader into the fray...With striking prose and an unencumbered pace, The Winter Soldier makes for a uniquely compelling read."—
Melissa Brown, Bookpage
"The Winter Soldier held me by the throat from the first lyrical page to the last. A story which manages to be as original as it is timeless, and above all, credible."—Emma Donoghue, bestselling author of Room
"In the tradition of Cold Mountain and Doctor Zhivago, Daniel Mason's new novel is a gloriously gripping story of love, war, and the marvel of human endurance. Sweeping yet intimate, brutal yet tender, it kept me up, it broke my heart, and it made me remember yet again just how a good book--a really good book--rekindles our love of life."—Julia Glass, National Book Award-winning author of Three Junes and A House Among the Trees
"In The Winter Soldier, Daniel Mason achieves a deeply affecting balancing act, drawing us into the crushing agony of war while simultaneously stirring our hearts with an inspired and touching love story."—Georgia Hunter, bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones
"Moving...Mason's old-fashioned novel delivers a sweeping yet intimate account of WWI, and in Lucius, the author has created an outstanding protagonist."—Publishers Weekly
"The Winter Soldier brings to vivid life the World War I story of a medical student who is taught battlefield surgery by a young nun with a mysterious past. Enthralled by the setting, the characters, and the language, I was held captive by this remarkable historical novel."—Mark Sullivan, bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky
"Mason's lyrical and affecting novel about the costs of war and lost love will satisfy readers of quality fiction."—David Keymer, Library Journal
"A novel of love, war, and medicine set during the grim final two years of World War I...Mason's contribution to war literature involves almost no depiction of fighting but rather its aftermath, the tragically scarred soldiers, and the almost equally traumatized caregivers who sacrifice their health in providing medical help to the wounded."—Kirkus Reviews
"A gripping read that explodes off the page...Breathless, I finished The Winter Soldier in awe, impressed with Mason's storytelling and a surprise at the end I didn't see coming. This is an unforgettable novel from first page to last."—Chris Stuckenschneider, eMissourian
"A sweeping story of love found and lost, steeped in medical details that reveal the full horrors that ill-equipped doctors and nurses faced over years of vicious trench warfare, The Winter Soldier is a vivid account of one man caught up in the epic forces of war, who desperately fights against the tides of change in search of redemption."—Booklist
"The Winter Soldier is a breathtaking and evocative novel on multiple fronts...Few stories handle the human cost of war as delicately and perceptively as The Winter Soldier does. Read it. It's a bravura performance."—Poornima Apte, Bookbrowse