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The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason

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Author: Alo├┐se of Daylesford Book Club, Posted: Monday, 25th November 2019, 09:00

This is an interesting book to read with Remembrance Sunday still fresh in one’s mind. It is easy to forget the Eastern Front of the First World War but this novel describes in great detail the agony of war in this region.

Lucius is a young medical student of Polish extraction living in Vienna with his prominent family.

He decides to enlist as a medical officer but realises when he arrives at the field hospital, which is in a church on the edge of the Carpathian Mountains, that he is ill equipped to deal with the wounded he finds there. Sister Margarete, a young nun, is his saviour.

She teaches him how to be a battlefield surgeon and as time goes on their relationship blossoms.
However, the arrival of a shell shocked victim changes the dynamic.

I should mention here that the author is a Professor of Psychiatry. Lucius becomes convinced he can cure the patient.

Interwoven with this narrative are insights into the anomalies of war in 1914. The writing is beautiful, the detail sometimes hard to take but the author doesn’t dwell on it. There is also a dry humour.

Anthony Doerr, author of ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ perfectly sums up this book “Part mystery, part war story, part romance, ‘The Winter Soldier’ is a dream of a novel — impeccably researched and totally immersive”.

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