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Review by Suze
Arthur Ransome is a British author. Because he isn't happy with his wife he wants to get away from her as far as possible and decides to travel to Russia. He taught himself the language, so it seems like a natural choice to find out more about the country. This is his introduction to journalism. It's a time of unrest in Russia and the English newspapers need someone to report about it. Through his work Arthur makes important friends among the Bolsheviks and he even falls in love with Trotsky's secretary, Evgenia, which makes him an interesting source of information for numerous parties.
Arthur is friendly with many different people and doesn't seem to have taken a side in the war. This makes him a suspect as well. They think he's a spy and they can't determine exactly who for, so he must be a double agent. When things are becoming too dangerous Arthur wants to leave the country together with Evgenia. There's one side he's clearly on and that is the side of love.
Marcus Sedgwick has written a very interesting story. I was fascinated from the start by both the Russian history and Arthur Ransome himself. I always love it when a beautiful story is based on facts. Blood Red Snow White is both informative and compelling. Arthur is an intelligent man. He's easy to like and therefore has a lot of friends. Somehow he always manages to meet the right kind of people. He isn't afraid and I admired him for that. His life is turbulent and perilous and there's always something important going on, which was fantastic to read about.
Marcus Sedgwick's writing flows easily. He mixes facts with wonderful writing. It's clear this novel is based on solid and thorough research. Blood Red Snow White gripped me immediately. I loved to read about Arthur Ransome's life and Marcus Sedgwick effortlessly manages to pass on passion and enthusiasm for his subject. He portrays Arthur as an honest, often impulsive, sometimes naïve and always clever man, which makes him get out of plenty of difficult situations. He's in Russia at a terrible time, but because of that his life is also a big adventure. That had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning. I really enjoyed reading this amazing impressive story and highly recommend it.
About Marcus Sedgwick
Marcus Sedgwick was born in Kent, England. Marcus is a British author and illustrator as well as a musician. He is the author of several books, including Witch Hill and The Book of Dead Days, both of which were nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.
The most recent of these nominations rekindled a fascination with Poe that has borne fruit here in (in The Restless Dead, 2007) the form of "The Heart of Another" - inspired by Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart." Of his story, Sedgwick says, "This was one of those stories that I thought might be a novel originally but actually was much better suited to the tight form of the short story. I had the initial idea some years ago but was just waiting for the right ingredient to come along.
Poe's story, as well as his own fascination with technique, provided that final piece of the puzzle."
He used to play for two bands namely playing the drums for Garrett and as the guitarist in an ABBA tribute group. He has published novels such as Floodland (winner of the Branford Boase Award in 2001) and The Dark Horse (shortlisted for The Guardian Children's Book Award 2002).
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US Only giveaway
One very lucky reader from the US will receive a set of Marcus Sedgwick's books Blood Red Snow White, The Ghosts of Heaven and Midwinterblood.