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Extended Audio Sample The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel, by Katherine Arden Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Katherine Arden Narrator: Kathleen Gati Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2017 ISBN: 9780399567179
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A magical debut novel for readers of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Neil Gaiman’s myth-rich fantasies, The Bear and the Nightingale spins an irresistible spell as it announces the arrival of a singular talent with a gorgeous voice.

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A beautiful deep-winter story, full of magic and monsters and the sharp edges of growing up.”

    Naomi Novik, New York Times bestselling author

  • “An extraordinary retelling of a very old tale…a wonderfully layered novel of family and the harsh wonders of deep winter magic.”

    Robin Hobb, New York Times bestselling author

  • “There’s a small but mighty space where fantasy and literary fiction can clasp hands and create a brilliant story that resonates in the soul. The Bear and the Nightingale lives squarely in that space, and those who dare to visit this novel will leave entranced.”


  • “Medieval Russian history and folklore lend a striking backdrop to this magical coming-of-age story, which features a resourceful heroine readers will root for.”


  • “Stunning…will enchant readers from the first page.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Transports the reader to a version of medieval Russia where history and myth coexist.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Utterly bewitching…[an] earthy story of folk magic, faith, and hubris, peopled with vivid, dynamic characters, particularly clever, brave Vasya, who outsmarts men and demons alike to save her family.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Author Katherine Arden and narrator Kathleen Gati are well matched in this lyrical coming-of-age fantasy…Gati’s smooth, subtly accented performance recalls fireside storytelling on a crackling cold night.”


  • A January 2017 LibraryReads Pick
  • A BookPage Top Pick for January 2017
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for January 2017
  • An Indie Next List Pick for January 2017
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