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Blood Red, Snow White Hardcover – 6 Aug 2007

22 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Children's Books (6 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842551841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842551844
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 787,497 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marcus Sedgwick used to work in children's publishing and before that he was a bookseller. He now happily writes full-time. His books have been shortlisted for many awards, including The Guardian Children's Fiction Award, the Blue Peter Book Award, the Carnegie Medal and the Edgar Allan Poe Award.

Product Description


'a fascinating blend of history, spy story and love story, stylishly told.' (Jennifer Taylor THE BOOKSELLER)

'Marcus Sedgwick achieves a bravura opening, combining Russian folk tales, narrative history, fictionalised biography and employing the repeated metaphor of a giant rampaging bear to symbolise the political awakened Russian massives.' (John Newman PUBLISHING NEWS)

'at once engaging and told with an extraordinary sense of lyricism... an extraordinary novel that delineates with clarity of vision individual concerns against the great sweeping expanses of societal unrest. Sedgwick's acheivement is in fusing these elements into an absorbing and stimulating tale that cements his position as one of the most powerful and innovative writers of contemporary fiction for this age.' (Jake Hope BOOKS FOR KEEPS)

'a mesmerising retelling of Ransome's time in Russia during the Revolution, and should appeal to adults as well as Sedgwick's loyal band of teenage readers.' (Danuta Kean THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

'masterly account of the Russian Revolution, seen through the fictionalised eyes of the author Arthur Ransome ... a doomed love story of power and passion.' (Amanda Craig THE TIMES)

'challenging, stark and uncompromising, a thoroughly satisfying read for older teenagers.' (Philip Womack LITERARY REVIEW)

'Marcus Sedgwick is writing with increased authority these days, and his Blood Red Snow White is a gripping story.' (Nicholas Tucker THE INDEPENDENT)

'It is fairy tale, love story and historical narrative innovatively woven together in an ambitious construct that will appeal to intelligent readers of 13+.' (Dinah Hall THE DAILY TELEGRAPH)

'... a sophisticated novel, making convincing use of Ransome's voice... This compelling account, written with a rare sureness of touch, and tender about Ransome's relationship with his abandoned daughter, will reward readers of any age.' (Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES)

'... sophisticated... written with a rare sureness of touch.' (Nicolette Jones THE SUNDAY TIMES)

'Pacey as any spy thriller... a jolly satisfying read.' (Venetia Vyvyan UNDERCOVER)

'[Sedgwick's] complex, beautifully written novel draws haunting contrasts between Russia's myth and its harsh reality.' (James Lovegrove FINANCIAL TIMES)

'a compelling and beautifully written story of a man caught up in extraordinary times. Very effective and worth reading.' (Thomas Murphy FLIPSIDE)

'[a] gem that sheds light on a well loved children's author.' (Rebecca Berry WRITE AWAY)

'compelling... beguilingly written...' (BOOKTRUSTED.CO.UK)

touching (FIRST NEWS)

An adventure novel infused with the power of myth and folk legend (FINANCIAL TIMES)

A brilliantly original novel (THE IRISH TIMES)

...Blood Red Snow White shows a master storyteller at the top of his game (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)

Book Description

The Russian Revolution - fairy tale, spy thriller, love story - one man's life during the last days of the Romanovs.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By kehs on 11 Sept. 2007
Format: Hardcover
Based around the Russian Revolution this centres around a well-known author whom I was amazed to learn was actually involved in the events that occurred - namely Arthur Ransome. Set before he was famous for his novel Swallows and Amazons this book tells of his amazing life and the part he played in this period of history. Ransome was already a writer when he realised he no longer loved his wife, so decided to leave her and his child (who he adored). He travelled to Russia, met a woman called Evgenia and fell in love with her. Then he became involved in espionage and was thought to be a spy or double agent. He had some incredible adventures and was involved in many hair- raising events. I am astounded at learning of Ransome's escapades and found this book absolutely riveting. For me the first part was the best, as it was told in my favourite style of fairytales, but the whole book truly gels together.

Sedgwick tells this historical love story in a fairytale style, which at times read like a memoir of Ransome's life. He has mixed gothic fairy tales, history, a biography, espionage and romance in a brilliantly seamless manner, which has blended together to make a spellbinding love story. With Blood Red Snow White Sedgwick has written an amazing multi-faceted novel that is sure to be a best seller.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. M. G. Farringdon on 21 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A gripping novel based on Arthur Ransome's eyewitness accounts of the early days of the Russian Revolution and his meetings with its leading figures, Trotsky and Lenin. Marcus Sedgwick spins a faction fairy tale from all this including Robert Bruce Lockhart's spying and the love story of Arthur Ransome and Trotsky's secretary. Being well versed in Arthur Ransome's accounts and those of other participants in these events I was delighted to find that its pace barely let me put it down until finished. An excellent read of a fascinating story. Arthur Ransome may be considered both courageous and foolhardy, but who wouldn't be for the Love of one's life? For those who would read more of this episode in Ransome's life and see photos of many of the places and buildings mentioned I must recommend Ted Alexander's 'Ransome in Russia' (also available on Amazon, of course!).
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By the main man on 23 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great story/fairly tale based on the Russian Revolution and Arthur Ransomes life in Russia.
However, for a book apparently aimed at younger readers (it is published by Orison Childrens books and written in slightly less sophisticated language than an adult oriented book),it includes occasional unexpectedly adult themes and language. That aside it is a great, enjoyable historical read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lady Fancifull TOP 500 REVIEWER on 14 July 2008
Format: Paperback
I was lucky enough to find this book in a charity shop, never having heard of the author before, and will eagerly pursue other writings by him

This is a beautifully written novel, combining various motifs - myth and fairy story, the search for true love, the Russian Revolution, the childrens' writer Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons) and espionage. As each and every one of these motifs are appealing or fascinating to me, I didn't see how this book could fail me. And it didn't!

The book is marketed at I guess an early teens reader with an interest in a few of the above motifs, But his writing is too good to let his teen audience have him all to themselves; like Ransome himself, and more modern 'childrens' writers' like Alan Garner, Philip Pullman etc there's great pleasure for us 'well grown up readers too'. In fact I sometimes prefer really good 'childrens' writers' - some 'good' adult writers can be too self-consciously turning a fine phrase, or trying to impress their peers; intelligent writing for children is often without artificial 'cleverness'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Annabel Gaskell VINE VOICE on 18 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
There has been renewed interest in the beloved children's author Arthur Ransome lately due to the publication of a new biography: The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome by Roland Chambers. What many people don't know is that years before he wrote the children's classics, including Swallows and Amazons, for which he is so fondly remembered, he lived and worked in Russia at the time of the revolution.

Published in 2007, Marcus Sedgwick's wonderful novel also tackles Ransome's time in Russia. Sedgwick is one of those teen authors whose books are crossover adult reads too, and I can't recommend this one highly enough - it has revolution and politics, spies and intrigue, romance and family drama, all steeped in Russian fairy tales.

Stuck in a marriage where he didn't love his wife, Ransome ran away to Russia in 1913, although he regretted having to leave his daughter behind. There he taught himself the language and became a journalist on the Daily News at the start of the Great War. He also covered the 1917 revolutions, and was close to Lenin and Trotsky. There he met the real love of his life, Evgenia, who was Trotsky's personal secretary; they married eventually. He was somewhat sympathetic to the Bolshelvik cause, although remained loyal to his homeland, and this led to MI6 using him through their agent Bruce Lockhart (whose
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