As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia's most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow. Is it murder?
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If your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal? Moscow 1945. As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia's most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow. Is it murder? A suicide pact? Or a conspiracy against the state? Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins as children are arrested and forced to testify against their friends - and their parents. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.
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"Gripping and cleverly plotted. Doomed love at the heart of a violent society is the heart of Montefiore's One Night in Winter... depicting the Kafkaesque labyrinth into which the victims stumble." The Sunday Times "A nail-biting drama ... Montefiore writes brilliantly about love, timeless dilemmas, family devotion, teenage romance and the grand passion of adultery. Readers of Sebastian Faulks and Hilary Mantel will lap this up." Mail on Sunday "A master storyteller when writing as a historian, Sebag Montefiore's fiction is just as compelling in this thriller set in Stalin's Moscow." GQ "A thrilling work of fiction. Montefiore weaves a tight, satisfying plot, delivering surprises to the last page. Stalin's chilling charisma is brilliantly realised. The novel's theme is Love: family love, youthful romance, adulterous passion. One Night in Winter is full of redemptive love and inner freedom." Evening Standard "There were several first-class novels of historical intrigue in 2014; this finely written chronicle of privileged adults and children afraid for their lives in the treacherous upper reaches of Stalin's Russia in 1945 is in a league of its own." Wall Street Journal "What happens when you cross Donna Tartt's The Secret History with one of the scariest times in Russian history? You end up with Simon Sebag Montefiore's One Night in Winter ... Based in truth, this novel will keep you biting your nails until the very end." Books and What Not Blog "Snuggle up in front of the fire with a glass of red and this captivating story ... a dark enigmatic thriller ... the way he weaves fiction and history is a true gift." Marie Claire "Seriously good fun... the Soviet march on Berlin, nightmarish drinking games at Stalin's countryhouse, the magnificence of the Bolshoi, interrogations, snow, sex and exile... lust adultery and romance. Eminently readable and strangely affecting." Daily Telegraph "Not just a thumpingly good read, but also essentially a story of human fragility and passions, albeit taking place under the intimidating shadow of a massive Stalinist portico." The National "Compulsively involving. Our fear for the children keeps up turning the pages... We follow the passions with sympathy... The knot of events tugs at a wide range of emotions rarely experienced outside an intimate tyranny." The Times