Winner of the AudioFile Earphone Award
From the best-selling author of The Piano Tuner comes Daniel Mason's The Winter Soldier, a story of love and medicine through the devastation of the First World War.
Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a 22-year-old medical student when World War One explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organised 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.
"Part mystery, part war story, part romance, The Winter Soldier is a dream of a novel." (Anthony Doerr, author of All the Light We Cannot See)
"Set in the Carpathians, in a makeshift hospital on the Austro-Russian front in WWI, Mason’s epic romance is impressively informed on the geopolitics and the medical and military practices of the time. Laurence Dobiesz’s narration brings precision, dexterity, and conviction to a storyline built on meticulous detailing. He’s clearly at home in several European languages, capable of suggesting with a shift in volume or tone a voice, a character, a state of mind." (AudioFile)