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Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick
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Blood Red, Snow White (2007)

by Marcus Sedgwick

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2931454,509 (3.76)26

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Showing 1-5 of 14 (next | show all)
Absolutely riveting quasi nonfictional account of journalist Arthur Ransome's experiences during the Russian Revolution. Sedgwick is a truly exceptional author and in his author's note he describes Blood Red, Snow White as "a work of fiction, but it is as closely based on the real events surrounding Ransome's time in revolutionary Russia as I could make it." The real and the fictional blend seamlessly and the story is effortless and captivating. ( )
  scatlett | Mar 6, 2018 |
As I make it a point to get my hands on all things Russian in YA, I quickly requested this book, but what I ended up reading left me with generally mixed opinions.
This book is historical fiction, but it feels it in a way that almost seems like occasionally reading a narrative textbook. There was a blandless, lack of depth to the characters and emotions in the book that just left me feeling apathetic about it. Now, Sedgwick is an admittedly hit or miss author for me. I've loved some of his books (Midwinterblood) and others I've detested others (The Ghosts of Heaven), so now I go into all of his books aware that it could easily go either way.
This one landed squarely in the middle. I've come to expect (or at least hope for) a certain kind of magic when reading Russian YAs--yes, even the Soviet ones--and that magic was lacking here. It just.... it was dull. I don't really know any better way to put it than that. While it definitely left me interested in the man who was its topic, Arthur Ransome, I was not left with any particularly warm thoughts about this book. It was overwhelmingly just ok.

I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  eaduncan | Sep 14, 2017 |
The story of British children's author Arthur Ransome, and his involvement in the Bolshevik revolution in russia while working as a reporter during WWI. ( )
  lilibrarian | Dec 19, 2016 |
When writer Arthur Ransome leaves his unhappy marriage in England and moves to Russia to work as a journalist, he has little idea of the violent revolution about to erupt. Unwittingly, he finds himself at its center, tapped by the British to report back on the Bolsheviks even as he becomes dangerously, romantically entangled with Trotsky's personal secretary. Both sides seek to use Arthur to gather and relay information for their own purposes . . . and both grow to suspect him of being a double agent. Arthur wants only to elope far from conflict with his beloved, but her Russian ties make leaving the country nearly impossible. And the more Arthur resists becoming a pawn, the more entrenched in the game he seems to become. ( )
  ShellyPYA | Nov 28, 2016 |
Even given the "fictional" nature of Red Blood, Snow White, this should absolutely be required reading for any high school or college course in Russian history. I feel this is Sedgwick at his best. His prose is stunning and soaked in the dark and stormy symbolism of Russia. While reading, I half-expected to look up and see a snowy, cold Muscovite street dotted with Cheka agents and international spies. As a student of Russian history ad culture, I wanted to scribble and underline all over...too bad it is a library book. I guess I will just have to snag a copy for my permanent library. The only reason I subtracted one star from the five that I wanted to give would be the Russo-centric interest. Without a basic understanding of Revolutionary Russia, one would be somewhat confused with all of the assumptive name dropping and WWI references. Sedgwick does a relatively good job filling in the gaps, but it could detract from the story and flow. ( )
  knivae | Nov 18, 2016 |
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Epigraph
'Russian fairyland is quite different. Under my windows the wavelets of the Volkhov are beating quietly in the dusk. A gold light burns on a timber raft floating down the river. Beyond the river in the blue midsummer twilight are the broad Russian plain and the distant forest. Somewhere in the great forest of trees – a forest so big that the forests of England are little woods beside it – is the hut where old Peter sits at night and tells these stories to his grandchildren.'

From Old Peter's Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome
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The years slip away.
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Book description
Set at the time of the Russian Revolution, the end of a centuries old dynasty, the rise of the Bolsheviks sent shockwaves around the world. This is the story of one man who was there. It's real history - about the riches and excesses, the glory of the Russian nobility, Nicholas and Alexandra, their haemophiliac son, Alexei, notorious Rasputin, Lenin and Trotsky who ruled from palaces where the Czars had once danced till dawn. The man was real too, his name was Arthur Ransome. He was a writer, accused of being a spy, perhaps even a double agent, and he left his wife and beloved daughter and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman, Evgenia.
Fictionalising history and blending it with real life, part i is told as a fairy tale. Wise and foolish kings, princesses, enchantresses (characters more suited to fairy tale than reality), wishes and magic, Russia with its vast cold plains and mighty cities, its riches and poverty, all play a part in the downfall of the Czars and rise of the new order. Part ii is about betrayal - Ransome the spy, bleak and threatening. Part iii is a love story, a fairy tale, ending - of Ransome's love for his daughter, Tabitha, and for Evgenia.
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"Set at the time of the Russian Revolution, the end of a centuries old dynasty, the rise of the Bolsheviks sent shockwaves around the world. This is the story of one man who was there. It's real history - about the riches and excesses, the glory of the Russian nobility, Nicholas and Alexandra, their haemophiliac son, Alexei, notorious Rasputin, Lenin and Trotsky who ruled from palaces where the Czars had once danced till dawn. The man was real, too. His name was Arthur Ransome. He was a writer, accused of being a spy, perhaps even a double agent, and he left his wife and beloved daughter and fell in love with Russia and a Russian woman, Evgenia."--Publisher description.… (more)

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