Daniel Mason transports us to the depth of winter in his gripping and compelling portrayal of a young man’s experiences working in a remote field hospital during WW1. The Winter Soldier is also a beautiful love story, a story of regret and then salvation.

Readability

★★★★★★★★★✰

Talkability

★★★★★★★★★✰

Den scores

★★★★★★★★★✰

THE WINTER SOLDIER

BY DANIEL MASON

336 pages

Daniel Mason transports us to the depth of winter in his gripping, skilful and inspiring portrayal of a young man’s experiences working in a remote field hospital in Poland during the first world war. Against the backdrop of the unspeakable horrors of war, The Winter Soldier is a beautiful love story, a story of regret and then salvation.

Lucius is the youngest son in an affluent family living in Vienna and training to be a doctor when World War 1 breaks out. Keen to further his surgical skills he enlists only to be posted to a remote field hospital in Lemnowice in Poland, situated in the mountains on the Eastern Front. On arrival he finds just one nurse, Sister Margarete in a requisitioned church full of desperately ill patients alongside a plague of typhus.

With the ‘matter of fact’ guidance of Sister Margarete, Lucius quickly has to adapt to the horrors of injured soldiers arriving in the depth of winter. One day József Horváth arrives, a patient whose mental state from the terrors he has witnessed and endured make him unable to communicate, however his pockets are full of drawings and as Lucius experiments new medication to alleviate his suffering, Horváth starts drawing again. Lucius becomes fascinated with Horváth’s illness and in his obsession to understand his state of mind, he goes against the advice of Sister Margarete and makes a decision which is to have far reaching consequences for all of them.

The story moves to post war, as Lucius is back working in Vienna whilst desperately trying to find the woman he loved and lost.

Daniel Mason is a physician and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and clearly uses his expertise knowledge alongside his lyrical and compelling narrative to bring all aspects of the suffering of war to life. Against the backdrop of the unspeakable distresses of the men’s suffering, is a beautiful love story, a story of regret and then salvation.

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