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The Witch Who Came In From The Cold: Season One

(The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.1-1.13)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  303 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Through a haze of cigarettes and vodka there lies a version of Prague in the heart of the Cold War, where spies practice sorcery in their games of intrigue. While the political lines may be as clear as the Iron Curtain, the battles of magic seldom stay clean and the combating forces of Ice and Flame dance across borders and loyalties. Tanya Morozova is a KGB officer and th ...more
ebook, 237 pages
Published June 1st 2016 by Serial Box Publishing
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3.67  · 
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 ·  303 ratings  ·  82 reviews

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Althea Ann
Jan 25, 2017 rated it liked it
As is obvious from the title, this story takes its inspiration from John le Carré, with its retro depiction of spies and double agents. In 1970s Prague, the CIA and the KGB dance around each other, their social circles and stomping grounds weirdly overlapping as agents maintain their cover stories and attend official functions...

But 'The Witch who Came in From the Cold' adds another layer. Not only are there two political sides in play, but there are two rival and opposing magical groups, known
Mogsy (MMOGC)
3.5 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum

I may not be the biggest fan of spy fiction, but out of all the Serial Box series released so far, The Witch Who Came in From the Cold was probably the one that excited me the most. To know why, you just have to take one look at that dream team of an author line-up. There are even a couple on there who are on my auto-read list. I mean, that’s a lot of talent in one place, and of course, I was also curious to see how thei
Oh brave, new world! We can now get an app that will give us pieces of a story each week, delivered in eprint format! It's like a podcast only it's a serialized novel. You know, like they used to publish in newspapers and magazines back in the 1890's.
What a long way we've come.

So this is "Season One" of the first set of stories about CIA Agent Gabe Pritchard and friends, KGB Agent Tanya Morozova and friends, and bartender witch Jordan Rhemes and friends, released via the Serial Box app.
It seems
Sarah (CoolCurryBooks)
The Witch Who Came in from the Cold mixes Cold War intrigue with urban fantasy to create a fantastic and original story.

Before I say anything else, I should note that The Witch Who Came in from the Cold is a Serial Box story. Serial Box is a fairly new company that releases “episodes” of serial stories that together make up a “season.” Basically, a written story told in a format more akin to weekly television. Each Serial Box story brings in multiple writers who work together to create the seaso
I really enjoyed the setting and the style the book was set up in. The natural breaks in the story provided a excellent place for me to take a break from the story. Each episode was basically the perfect length for one sitting. The down side of this was that I found it hard to pick up the book again. With the start of each section I felt like I was re-reading information I had already read. Way to much background information to keep me interested.
I never connected with any of the characters and
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arcs, favorites
I loved this. I loved this so much. Buying season two of this was the most worthwhile thing I could have done. Ever. Fantasy and historical fiction (especially with a focus on Eastern Europe) are my two favorite genres and this blends them perfectly into a mix I really can't get enough of. Very excited to get my hands on a physical copy in June.
Peter Tillman
I read the Swanwick story, which is very much in media res and just so-so, perhaps because I had no idea of what is going on in the serial. So, 8 deadly words, new book with waitlist, way over-booked.... Probably not for me. Left unrated.
Cristal Punnett
May 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
A great story with realistic characters and great mix of a spy novel and magical realism. I enjoyed the setting of Prague in winter. I enjoyed the different episodes written by different authors giving variations in writing styles.

The only downside was some repetition in each episode of the storyline.

I would like to thank NetGalley for this copy.
Julie  Capell
The typical spy thriller is usually confusing enough, with agents and double agents constantly changing sides until the reader just gives up on understanding what's going on and just ends up reading for the occasional bon mot or romantic encounter. At least that's what happens to me.

This series, which adds sorcery as another layer of complexity on top of the usual Cold War allegiances, should therefore have been a complete cluster**** but against all expectations, I found it a highly enjoyable
Tim Hicks
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adventure, fantasy
Three, really, but I award an extra star for the concept, which should be encouraged. But not too often.

I read it as a single unit, and I suspect if I'd been fed it in episodes I might have given up.

If this seems long and tedious, wait till you read a real John Le Carre or equivalent. I am taking this one's length and pace as a tribute to those.

Crossing a spy novel with magic is a great idea, although it can make for a tricky plot. And I'm not sure about some of the characters - Sasha and Dom
Ben Babcock
May 10, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I made it through four or five of the “episodes” of The Witch Who Came in from the Cold over several days. Then I looked at how much more of the book I had left to go. I looked at my colleague, who has been reading very, very long, semi-serialized work on places like Wattpad. And I gave her this book, having not finished it, because I think she might like it more than I did.

There is nothing wrong or objectionable about this book. It just didn’t work for me. The plot was unspooling too slowly for
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting structure, having been serialized with each chapter written by a different author. It's not flawless, but it works better than you might expect. Cold War witches in which there's both the Russians and the Westerners but also the Ice and the Flame, both of which are horribly mixed so your ally on one level is your enemy on another. So. Much. Paranoia. A lot of fun.
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The prospect of a Cold War era spy thriller in the fantasy genre excited me, when I first learned about this book, and indeed the premise remains one of the strongest aspects of the book. In Prague, secret agencies of all types wrest for knowledge and power; CIA, MI-6, The KGB--but there are two others operating even beyond the knowledge of the usual organizations, Ice and Flame, cabals of witches who have infiltrated other agencies and are working towards higher stakes--it's not just about the ...more
Tracey the Lizard Queen
3.5 Stars

Review originally posted here:

Well, I'm not really sure where to start with this particular title. Spies and magic, what can I say? It was rather good. At least, it started out exceptionally good and then deteriorated slightly through the middle and didn't quite make up for it at the end. But still a good read.

For me, the best thing about this book was the whole 'spy thing'. I love a great spy drama and this was up there with the best. It's not w
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

I initially picked this up purely because of the title, having recently read the La Carre original. Witches, spys, cold war, could be a bit of silly fun, hey?

After flying through the first few parts however, I was well and truly on board with this rocking little urban fantasy x cold war spy romp.
1970s Geopolitics, warring ideologies, and ancient magical cults prepared to fight to the death, maybe a hint of sexual tension? Yes please. Plus gay characters, POC, badass women to boot...

There are so many parts of this that I love egregiously. The Cold War and colder magical war overlaid and interwoven is a fantastic concept, and it's delivered with spy-shenanigans much more of the Smiley than Bond school, which is always a lot more fun to read. I enjoyed the characters, with all their personal levers and problems. And in general, the writing was great.

My only real niggle was pacing again. The episodic nature of the original work is still not quite sitting right with me, and tha
I think this is the first time I have read a book authored by five different people. It is categorized as fantasy but it is also a spy story. The Russians vs. the Americans and sundry other nationalities mixed in. There are magical potions made of herbs and roots and special people called Hosts who seem to be the fulcrum around which the "good guy Ice people" and the "bad buy flame people" circulate.

I am not enamored of the writing style which is fairly weak and hesitant. Overall, though, the bo
Kathy Heare Watts
Aug 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mystery, suspense, magic, and intrigue.

I won a copy of this book during a Goodreads giveaway. I am under no obligation to leave a review or rating and do so voluntarily. So that others may also enjoy this book, I am paying it forward by donating it to my local library.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fun read! Fast paced and complicated plot structure, formatted like a tv show. Has at least one gay character which I did not expect but appreciated and which should honestly be a minimum requirement for any book with this large a cast of characters.
Jesse C
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Started off a little rough: seemed almost cartoonish in the setup with ICE vs FLAME, but it really rounds into form as it goes. It isn't quite Le Carre, but it is a really nice fantasy homage to the genre.
Michael Hirsch
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I've never read a book like this. It was half a cold war Thriller and half a fantasy story about to Magic groups at war with each other. Both halves of this book were very well done and the interactions with it send it over the top. five stars.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recent Reads: The Witch Who Came In From The Cold. Max Gladstone and a host of other writers deliver a monster of a serial novel. Prague 1970, and two Cold Wars are about to collide; who you thought was an ally might not be. Magic is about to collide with spycraft. Fantastic fun.
Peter Hansen
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A bit of world building at the beginning of the story made for a slow start but once they setup was in place the story quickened and the twists and turns of the layers of the spies and the ice vs flame drew me right in. Glad season two just wrapped up and I can read it all without delay.
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jul 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stuart by: Cara Gorman
Really enjoyed this novel, a strange mashup of a spy story and a supernatural story, written by a group of authors writing chapters turnabout, remarkably seamlessly. The authors included two of my favorites - Max Gladstone and Ian Tregillis, so it had a lot going for it from the beginning. There is an overall arc of a story involving the CIA trying to extract a Russian scientist from the grasp of the KGB during a scientific conference held in Prague. Then there is Prague itself as a background, ...more
Mar 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: didnt-finish
This is a serial novel. I've tried about 3 different serial novels before this, and I think they just aren't for me. Too bad- this is an interesting idea!

The basic conceit is that in addition to the Cold War, there's a covert magical conflict going on between the Ice and the Flame. Agents from the Ice or Flame could be on either side of the Cold War, so a given person might find their allegiances conflicting if they are both an Ice agent and a Russian operative, for example.

Seems like a recipe
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, for the first 50-100 pages or so of this book, I was pretty close to abandoning it.

The initial expectation was high - mixing Le Carre-esque cold war espionage with elemental magic seemed like simultaneously a novel yet obvious mix. Getting into it, however, was tough. The first stretch of the book is more heavily focused on the magic elements of the story rather than the spy aspect. Getting further in, it becomes clear its merely a case of introducing the reader to unfamiliar elements,
Maja Lisa
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
First off, I'd like to thank Saga Press for offering me a chance to read an ARC copy. I wouldn't have ever picked this up if it wasn't sent to me, and I adored it.

“Two things this city was lousy with: spies and witches. And more than a few, like Tanya and Nadia, who qualified as both.”

I don’t know how to express how much I loved this volume. Set in Soviet Russia, CIA officer Gabe Pritchard and KGB agent Tanya Morozova lead the story. I don’t read many spy novels, let alone paranormal, fantasy sp
Jul 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

I adore this book. I do. I do. I do (anyone get my Keenan and Kel humor? No? Sigh...) I love the feel of this book. I love the heft of this book. I love the layout. I love the idea. All of it! It was a bit difficult for me to keep up with all of the different players and what agency they worked for and what secret society they belonged to and etc etc. But I really loved the storyline, so much so t
Henry Lazarus
The Witch Who Came in from the Cold (hard from Serial Box) was originally sold on Amazon as a linked serial. Lindsay Smith, Max Gladstone, Cassandra Rose Clarke, Ian Tregillis, and Michael Swanwick attempt to capture the mixture of spy and magic that make the Laundry files so readable. In the winter of 1970 Prague, the CIA and the KGB fight from opposing sides, while the sorcerers of the Fire fight the sorcerers of the Ice with sorcerers on both sides of the Cold War. At the heart of the sorcero ...more
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Lindsay is the author of multiple novels for young adults, including Sekret and A Darkly Beating Heart, as well as the comic series Black Swan. She is the showrunner and lead writer for Serial Box's The Witch Who Came In From the Cold, a Publisher's Weekly Best Book of 2017. Her short stories and comics have appeared in the anthologies A Tyranny of Petticoats, Strange Romance Vol. 3, and Toil & ...more

Other books in the series

The Witch Who Came In From The Cold (1 - 10 of 26 books)
  • A Long, Cold Winter (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.1)
  • A Voice on The Radio (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.2)
  • Double Blind (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.3)
  • Stasis (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.4)
  • The Golem (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.5)
  • A Week Without Magic (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.6)
  • Radio Free Trismegistus (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.7)
  • Cover the Silence (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.8)
  • Head Case (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.9)
  • Anchises (The Witch Who Came In From The Cold #1.10)