The Winter Soldier

The Winter Soldier

Book - 2018
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Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives--at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains--he discovers a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains. But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2018.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780316477604
Characteristics: 323 pages : map ; 25 cm.


From Library Staff

"During World War I, Lucius enlists to work at a field hospital. He's the only doctor at his post, in the far-off, frigid Carpathian Mountains, and he's never even picked up a scalpel. His decision regarding one unconscious patient changes everything."

From the critics

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Dec 12, 2019

I found this book intriguing, an out of the ordinary storyline, and excellent writing. I kept my phone dictionary handy and learned some wonderful new words.
I thought ending was somewhat unpredictable but yet realistic and not candy coated. I learned so much about WW1, including the sacrifices made by many.
I have recommended this book to others and beyond me why anyone would give it a one star?
I plan to reread it at a later time just to relish in the author’s remarkable words in describing images. War is hell and this novel is slightly graphic but again realistic in nature.

Aug 06, 2019

Well written but such a sad story. War is so horrid - why can mankind not stop engaging in it -

Feb 09, 2019

The Winter Soldier is an excellent read. Set in a unique location -- the Eastern Front during World War I where the forces of the decaying Austro-Hungarian Army fought epic, but certainly often ignored, battles with the collapsing army of Tsarist Russia. This book describes the intense suffering of the Austro-Hungarian soldiers who were wounded in these battles, both physically and mentally. More significant are the dogged and often heroic efforts of the medical caregivers, primarily an inexperienced and young Polish doctor and a nurse with unique healing powers, both operating in the worst of medical conditions. The story also focusses upon the injured soldiers, especially the "winter soldier" who comes to epitomize the horrors of war, the forgotten plight of the wounded, and the mental costs of war. The geographic context, high in the Carpathian Mountains of Poland/Hungary/Ukraine, and located within Galacia where there is a tremendous confluence of cultures: Polish, Hungarian, Austrian, German, Ruthenian, Russian, and Ukranian, is itself an education about a place that is not a well known location for American novels of any kind.

The story itself does a great job of character description, especially the doctor, the nurse, and the winter soldier. The story begins slow, but ends with a rush. The finale is sad, but in the end redemptive. To me, the book has several positive strains of the novel Dr. Zhivago, with love and loss, a historically underappreciated conflict, and, in the end, a great and thought provoking tale.

Jan 15, 2019

When war breaks out in 1914, Lucius, a promising medical student, enlists in the Imperial Austrian Army and ends up stranded in a typhus-ridden outpost in the Carpathian Mountains. The other doctors have fled. There is only a nurse, Sister -Margarete, who becomes his aide and teacher as he learns medicine in the act of practicing it. A soldier is brought in with no visible wounds: he won't eat or talk. Lucius and Margarete nurse him back to fragile health. Then the Hussars arrive, and their officer sees only a malingerer, a soldier with no visible wounds. The officer's brutal treatment of the patient undoes all the good that has been done: a man who was damaged only on the inside is left damaged on the outside, too. The soldier is taken away and Lucius is consumed with guilt for failing to intervene. Margarete and Lucius fall in love, but she, too, disappears. The rest of the novel is about Lucius's three-year hunt to find her.

JessicaGma Jan 08, 2019

I wanted to like this book more but then it did the lamewad end twist where you know it's trying to be Literature as opposed to literature. And it is true, it's a small plot in a sense, but I liked the premise, but ultimately, my enjoyment was blown up by the "end twist'.

Jan 07, 2019

Many more "holds" than this novel deserves. Hoping l'auteur is a better medical doctor than writer. Wafer thin plot--doctor and nurse--sound familiar? On the positive, one can skip through the wordiness and uninteresting descriptives and still be interested in finishing to a rather weak conclusion.

Nov 12, 2018

A First World War novel on the eastern front written in the 21st century style of high impact visual effects over plot. After many pages of description concerning lice, then many pages concerning the treatment of a venereal disease and finally a graphic description of treating a stomach wound, I gave this book a pass. Only read a quarter of it. The plot was developing, but the graphic horrors were excessive - hence the poor rating.

Oct 16, 2018

A bleak but engaging look at the First World War, I especially liked Sister Margarete. Will test the levels of your squeamishness. While it took a few chapters to get going, once you discover Lemnowice, you will be hooked.



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