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One Night in Winter: A Novel Audiobook, by Simon Sebag Montefiore Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Simon Sebag Montefiore Narrator: Simon Prebble Publisher: HarperAudio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Series: The Moscow Trilogy Release Date: May 2014 ISBN: 9780062341242
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Inspired by a true story, prize-winning historian and acclaimed novelist Simon Sebag Montefiore explores the consequences of forbidden love in this heartbreaking epic of marriage, childhood, danger, and betrayal that unfolds in Stalin's Moscow during the bleak days after World War II.

As Moscow celebrates the motherland's glorious victory over the Nazis, shots ring out on the crowded streets. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl—dressed in traditional nineteenth-century costumes—lie dead. But this is no ordinary tragedy, because these are no ordinary teenagers. As the son and daughter of high-ranking Soviet officials, they attend the most elite school in Moscow. Was it an accident, or murder? Is it a conspiracy against Stalin, or one of his own terrifying intrigues?

On Stalin's instructions, a ruthless investigation begins into what becomes known as the Children's Case. Youth across the city are arrested and forced to testify against their friends and their parents. As families are ripped apart, all kinds of secrets come spilling out. Trapped at the center of this witch-hunt are two pairs of illicit lovers, who learn that matters of the heart exact a terrible price. By turns a darkly sophisticated political thriller, a rich historical saga, and a deeply human love story, Montefiore's masterful novel powerfully portrays the terror and drama of Stalin's Russia.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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 (London)

  • “Snuggle up in front of the fire with a glass of red and this captivating story. A dark enigmatic thriller…The way [Montefiore] weaves fiction and history is a true gift.”

    Marie Claire (London)

  • “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.”

    Sunday Times (London)

  • “This tightly written page-turner crackles with authenticity and if you are wiping away a tear by the end it won’t be the icy chill of the Soviet winter that’s to blame.”

    Daily Express (London)

  • “Seriously good fun…the Soviet march on Berlin, nightmarish drinking games at Stalin’s country house, the magnificence of the Bolshoi, interrogations, snow, sex and exile…lust, adultery, and romance. Eminently readable and strangely affecting.”

    Sunday Telegraph (London)

  • “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.”

    Times (London)

  • “Thrilling…One Night in Winter is full of redemptive love and inner freedom.”

    London Evening Standard

  • “A mix of thriller, love story, and historical fiction…Montefiore’s knowledge of the period helps him bring 1945 Moscow to bleak, fascinating life.”

    Observer (London)

  • “A gripping thriller about private life and poetic dreams in Stalin’s Russia…A darkly enjoyable read.”

    Guardian (London)

  • “A compelling read.”

    Independent (London)

  • “A novel of passion, fear, bravery, suffering and survival…Its success is helped by Montefiore’s pitch-perfect reconstruction of the golden tightrope that Moscow’s elite walked under Stalin.”

    Spectator (London)

  • “Delicately plotted and buried within a layered, elliptical narrative, One Night in Winter is also a…page-turner which adroitly weaves a huge cast of characters into an arcane world.”

    Time Out (London)

  • “In this engrossing novel, the setting is the USSR shortly after the end of the Second World War…As Simon Sebag Montefiore explains in an afterword, this is based on similar real events, and certainly his ease with the setting and certain historical characters is masterly.”

    Scotsman (Edinburgh)

  • “Sebag’s new novel draws in the reader and renders time meaningless. Brilliantly depicted.”

    Jewish Chronicle (London)

  • “Not just a thumpingly good read, but also essentially a story of human fragility and passions.”

    National (Abu Dhabi)

  • “From the first pages of this gripping novel, Montefiore captures the very essence of the fear created by Stalin’s regime. His characters are very real teenagers caught in political games they cannot fathom and terrors so deep that they and their families cannot escape prosecution. As thought provoking as it is historically accurate, Montefiore’s foray into Soviet politics is fascinating.”

    RT Book Reviews (4½ stars)

  • “Basing his book on an actual murder case from 1945, Montefiore incorporates fictional families among historical figures such as Stalin and his secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria. He does an excellent job of portraying the paralyzing tension of powerful high-ranking Soviet officials who are powerless to protect their own families and the chaos of a society where brothers denounce brothers and children denounce parents. Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal

  • “Sudden, mysterious arrests. Brutal interrogations. The crushing of any hint of antigovernment thought. Constant, stomach-churning terror. Such is the reality of Stalinist Russia evoked so convincingly by Montefiore.…A gripping, fast-moving tale of love, fear, sacrifice, and survival.”


  • “British historian Montefiore turns in his second novel, a foreboding tale of Soviet Russia based on actual events…The characters…are strong and believable, all careening toward a fateful day…Speak[s] to much that’s dark in the human soul—but to what can redeem it, too.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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About the Author

Simon Sebag Montefiore is a historian specializing in Russia. Born in 1965, he read history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. The author of several novels and a presenter of television documentaries, he is married with two children and lives in London.

About the Narrator

Simon Prebble, a British-born performer, is a stage and television actor and veteran narrator of some three hundred audiobooks. As one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices, he has received thirty-seven Earphones Awards and won the prestigious Audie in 2010. He lives in New York.