New story about the brutality of Russian Revolution

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Book review

DAN Smith makes a welcome return to the tumultuous period facing Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution and the peasants uprising against the Tsar and aristocracy.

After the author’s last thriller The Child Thief, Smith clearly felt there was a wealth of history and events to revisit.

In Red Winter, Nikolai Levitsky is a Red Army deserter, the civil war has taken its toll upon men like him who have witnessed indescribable horror which will haunt them forever.

Nikolai and his brother Alek escape from their unit to return to their family home in Belev. But Levitsky finds his village abandoned and his wife and sons missing.

And so Nikolai sets out to search for his family and to hunt down a commander known as Koschei the Deathless (a dark mythological figure), who leads a unit of men carrying out barbaric acts against those peasants the revolution was supposed to support.

However, Levitsky the tracker knows he is being tracked, making his mission more perilous.

Red Winter is a multi-faceted novel. On one level it is a great historical thriller, which is highly readable and entertaining, however on a deeper level you can draw comparisons with the wars which are being fought in the name of creating a better world now and realise who are the real victims of civil war.

Smith will be signing copies of The Child Thief at Waterstones in Morpeth on Saturday from 2pm to 4pm. Red Winter will be available from July 18 and you can pre-order a copy in store.