The Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier

by Daniel Mason

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Winner of the Northern California Book AwardLonglisted for the Simpson/Joyce Carol Oates PrizeA New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceA Washington Post Notable BookA San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of the YearAn NPR Best Book of the Year
National Bestseller
"The Winter Soldier brims with improbable narrative pleasures...These pages crackle with excitement... A spectacular success." --Anthony Marra, New York Times Book Review
"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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316477581
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 8,222
File size: 6 MB

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.

What People are Saying About This

Author of Less and The Story of a Marriage - Andrew Sean Greer

“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."

Author of the national bestseller Room - Emma Donoghue

"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.”

Customer Reviews

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The Winter Soldier 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Absolutely beautiful writing; almost poetic. A heartbreaking story of the horrors of war and the medical student/not quite doctor who learns medicine the hard way; in a field hospital of gravely injured soldiers with no doctor and but one nurse trying to keep the patients alive. She teaches him, on the fly, everything he needs to know about surgery and medical care. The stories of these two main characters build in unexpected ways as the war lingers. I read this book in a day and a half. I could not put it down. Being a nurse, I was very interested in the descriptions of medical devices, medications, diagnosis, theories, and treatments, circa 1916. But, the beauty of the writing, and the story created by this author, was what caught my imagination, my breath, and my desire to savor every word. Well done, Daniel Mason.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book! Wonderful book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One heck of a story!
Ronnie293 More than 1 year ago
Bittersweet Historical Fiction This is my favourite type of Historical Fiction. Stories that follow ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events during the war. Be they doctors, soldiers, nurses or civilians, everyone has a story that needs telling. This story follows Lucius Krzelewski, from a well-off Austrian family, through his years of medical training. Mason highlights how training during this time was not hands on but merely observation only. When the war breaks out the students are fast tracked to doctor status and sent straight to remote makeshift hospitals treating an endless run of wounded soldiers. Lucius is sent a converted church in a remote area of Northern Hungary. The majority of the story takes place during Lucius’ time at the makeshift hospital in Lemnowice, Hungary and how the doctor, nurse and orderlies deal with the terrible wounds, rats , plague, soldiers with shell-shock, typhus, louse, lack of food and the freezing conditions. As the small group of medical staff bond we also get to learn about their lives, their triumphs and their failures. With one particular failure having far-reaching effects and will linger with Lucius long after he leaves the hospital. There is much to this novel with mentions of early medical practices and experimental medical procedures, the food shortages and the black market. The social aftermath of the war is highlighted by a greater divide between the haves and have-nots and the need for arranged marriages. The story is sombre and atmospheric, quite often harsh and brutal. There are tender moments dispersed throughout with an underlying story of love and loss. The ending was bittersweet. A twist I certainly didn’t see coming. *My thanks to the publisher for my copy to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a tough book for me to review. You might say the writing is excellent, since it is completely cringe-worthy. I have read many war books, and many with tremendous violence, but this one is gruesome beyond belief, and I'm having to force myself to finish it. I would not buy it again. Perhaps this is because I look for escapism, not blunt, horrific realism in my fiction favorites. Well-written, yes. A favorite book, no.
bamcooks More than 1 year ago
*4-4.5 stars. An excellent novel of historical fiction set during WWI. Lucius is the son of a wealthy Polish family living in Vienna. His parents are confounded when he decides to go to school to become a doctor. When he is told he could get his medical degree early if he volunteers to serve in the war effort, he jumps at the chance even though he has had little hands on experience. After many delays, he is finally posted to a field hospital in Galicia in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains. He assumes he will be working with a team of doctors, but when he arrives he learns it will be just him and a Catholic nun who has been working alone since the last doctor took off. It is painfully obvious that he has no clue what to do and Sister Margarete takes him under her wing. So just who is 'the winter soldier,' you ask? He is a patient named Sergeant Jozsef Horvath, an Hungarian from Budapest, who is brought in in a wheelbarrow and seems to be suffering from nervous shock. Lucius and Margarete work together to try to help him recover. But Horvath will come to haunt Lucius long after he is taken away. "Now, with each day that passes, I feel more and more like some of my soldiers, who seemed forever stuck in their eternal winters." If you are looking for a WWI story to read in honor of the 100th anniversary of the end of the war, this would be an excellent choice. It has drama, adventure, a bit of gore, and even some romance. I received an arc of this novel from the publisher via NetGalley for my honest review. Many thanks for the opportunity.
bloomedlatelover05 More than 1 year ago
I'm so glad that I found this beautiful novel, thanks to the glowing review in the NYT Book Review. I read a lot of literary and historical fiction, and this is my favorite novel of 2018. A very powerful, moving, and engrossing story, which haunted me long after I finished it. The writing was glorious, the setting was vividly depicted, and I cared deeply about the characters and their respective fates. The ending was a bittersweet surprise, but pitch-perfect and just right ! I tend to read mostly novels by women writers, but I'm so glad that I was steered to this one. Among other gifts, this novel introduced me to one of the most fascinating female characters ever! Thank you, Daniel Mason, for your beautiful and memorable novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So good!
Anonymous 4 months ago
stupid information about early childhood