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The Winter Soldier

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,665 ratings  ·  1,310 reviews
Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives, at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains, he finds a freezing outpost ravaged by ...more
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published September 11th 2018 by Little, Brown and Company
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Max Romano she was late to return because she was in need of time in solitude to think about everything she was experiencing or to relieve herself of powerful em…moreshe was late to return because she was in need of time in solitude to think about everything she was experiencing or to relieve herself of powerful emotions.

She like so many other women wanted the basic family life that is central to happiness. She wanted a husband and a child and of course to have them in a world not crumbling from war.

She was hiding her identity maybe to escape an old relationship that she felt was dangerous or to escape the loss of a loved one. Maybe a man she thought she might never see again.

This was a time when communication was limited, when death was common. People were forced to move on from personal loss in a much more immediate way than in our modern times. (less)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Miranda Reads
4.5 stars

There was something quite primitive and horrid about it.
Lucius has always (always) wanted to be a doctor.

Despite his parents many objections, there was never any doubt in his mind what he was going to do.

Well, until WWI broke out.

Faced with the absolutely terrifying new world, Lucius takes an opportunity to obtain firsthand experience in the medical field by signing up for the war.

His parents? Less than pleased...but his mother ( oh that mother! ) decides to make the best of a ba
Angela M
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4+ stars.
Historical fiction is a favorite genre for me, but I have not read a lot of books about WWI. While this is a war story, it doesn’t take place on the battlefield field. The majority of the story takes place at a field hospital in a church in a place called Lemnowice, in the Carpathian Mountains. Twenty two year old Lucius Krzelewski is a medical student from a well to do Polish family in Vienna in 1914. He has a passion for his medical studies, and sees the war as a disruption, but histo
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was easily a hands down 5 star and what a phenomenal story. I’m speechless and wowed.

And thus begins the life of a physician. Not even completed his training, Lucius is pulled into the war in 1914, romanticizing the opportunity to finally practice on real patients.
But the reality wasn’t the medicine he was hoping to practice. It was a fix them as best you can to send them back to the front to fight. And the ones who came back with no visible wounds were the ones that deeply disturbed him t
Susanne  Strong
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
4 Stars

The year is 1914. Lucius is a young medical student in Vienna, when the war breaks out and he immediately becomes a “War Doctor.”

Lucius is sent to Lemnowice in the Carpathian Mountain, where the conditions are barbaric: Amputations, Gonorrhea, Lice and Typhus - to name a few. The “Hospital” is infested with rats and the situation is deplorable. Truth be told, he is completely unprepared. Thankfully, Sister Margarete, the nurse on the premises, teaches him everything she knows and it is b
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Wow! No sepia colored historical fiction here. We are talking graphic. The writing here will have you squirming. The scenes etch themselves into your brain.

It’s the beginning of World War I. I’ve always considered WWI a complicated mess of a war. It’s known for its high casualties and gruesome war fare. The 1915 winter campaign in the Carpathian Mountains was a disaster for the Austrio- Hungarian forces fighting the Russians. Ill equipped for battle, let alone winter, they struggle to hang on t
Jeffrey Keeten
Dec 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”He made a strange twisting motion as if he were attempting to free his feet from where they had frozen to the ground. The skin began to tear, but he didn’t seem to feel it. Spit froze to his lips, his muscles shook, and his penis had shrunken into his pubic hair. HIs pale skin turned yellow, then blotched with white and pink, and then pink began to retreat to pallor once again. The entire scene seemed leached of any color, the church walls clad in ice, the courtyard bare, even the tree trunk du ...more
3.5 stars. I'm conflicted on my rating because the first 1/2 to 3/4 of the book was easily a 5 star read, but then it took a turn I didn't care for. My cursor hovered over 3 or 4 stars. I don't consider 3.5 a "bad" rating. It means I enjoyed it but there were a few elements that didn't work for me. I listened to the majority of it on a long drive and the narrator, Laurence Dopbiesz, was excellent, making it easy to listen to for long hours.

I was captivated by this story from the first pages. I h
4.5 stars rounded to 5 stars

I have expanded my reading horizons this year by being open to other genres and writing styles that are rather new for me. By doing so, I have read a number of books that I would not have even considered just months prior. I’m amazed to think what I would be missing by not taking some chances!

I was attracted to Winter Soldier because of its title and cover and because of the medical theme. It looked more literary that what I usually read so I downloaded the first chap
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent Historical Fiction Story from the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front. The Winter Soldier is a story of war and medicine, of finding love when one least expects it, a story of the mistakes we make and how we try to atone for them.

I really enjoyed this novel and I picked this one up in the book store purely because I could not resist the stunning cover.
image: The front cover of the novel I own as above is taking from a painting (as stated on i
I have been hesitating for ages with my fingers hovering over the keyboard. How shall I rate this book? I took a look at the reviews and they are predominately five and four star. I think I am feeling three. I might write the review first and then choose my rating.....

On the good side was the beautiful writing. No one can question the author's talent at setting the scene and describing the action. The characters are well drawn too particularly Lucius, his mother and Margarete. Especially Margare
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucius Krzelewski, born to a wealthy Polish family, has been raised in Vienna. He chooses to study medicine instead of living a pampered life. Lucius lives and breathes medicine. After six semesters of study, he wants to examine and treat patients. He has yet to use a scalpel. With two years of study remaining, the Archduke of Sarajevo is assassinated. In 1915, during the Great War, medical students are offered early graduation if they enlist. Physician shortages mean that students like Lucius c ...more
Twenty-two-year-old Lucius was deeply into his medical degree when war exploded across Europe. It was 1914 and his life in Vienna felt a long way from the front. Enlisting in the medical field, he expected to be assisting doctors and nurses at a field hospital. But his arrival at the small village of Lemnowice made him realise his expectations were far from the truth. Sister Margarete was in charge; she did the surgery, nursed the patients, administered the care. A few ex-soldiers helped out – a ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
3.5 stars

War and its consequences, not only does it take lives, its takes limbs, minds, and the will to carry on. Yet, it also gives some strength they never knew they possessed. It is the strength of the gods, the stamina of the brave, the courage of the undaunted, and the determination of the strong to carry on where others would fail.

Lucius Krzelewski is a Polish medical student. He came from a wealthy family, a quiet introspective young man, a stutterer, a ma
Veronica ⭐️
This is my favourite type of Historical Fiction. Stories that follow ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events during the war. Be they doctors, soldiers, nurses or civilians, everyone has a story that needs telling.

This story follows Lucius Krzelewski, from a well-off Austrian family, through his years of medical training. Mason highlights how training during this time was not hands on but merely observation only. When the war breaks out the stude
One of the things I like most about ‘The Winter Soldier’ by Daniel Mason is the authenticity of descriptions of medicine during World War I. Lucius is twenty-two years old and a student who enlists in the army as a medical lieutenant. Even though he hasn’t completed his medical studies, there is a shortage of doctors and a friend convinces him that he will see cases that otherwise would take years to experience in general practice. On the way to the Carpathian Mountains, the hussar who is his gu ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Winter Soldier is one of the most beautifully written examples of historical fiction I’ve ever read: the details, the authenticity, and the clarity are remarkable. Every image is jaw-droppingly vivid. But more than that are the heartbreaking stories of Lucius and Margarete, a doctor and a nurse, as they try to piece together the soldiers who pass through their First World War aid station as the Austro-Hungarian Empire crumbles around them. I was reminded, in all the best ways, of The English ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*4-4.5 stars. An excellent novel of historical fiction set during WWI. Lucius is the son of a wealthy Polish family living in Vienna. His parents are confounded when he decides to go to school to become a doctor. When he is told he could get his medical degree early if he volunteers to serve in the war effort, he jumps at the chance even though he has had little hands on experience.

After many delays, he is finally posted to a field hospital in Galicia in the shadow of the Carpathian Mountains i
Diane Barnes
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're in the mood for a war novel (WWI), they don't get much better than this. A medical student assigned to a forsaken outpost in the Carpathian Mountains, a strange little nun, both performing amputations and treating amputees and shell shock and frostbite, along with battling lice and rats and sadistic officers; well, let's just say that it's full of the action and gut-wrenching drama you would expect from such a situation. There's guilt and love and redemption in addition, making this a ...more
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
War novels – the good ones, at least – are never about the tactical battles of war; that’s best left for historians. Really good war literature (and I’m thinking of Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds, for example) are about the psychic scarring of those who participate in wars and what it does to one’s moral core.

The Winter Soldier is that kind of book—plot-driven, for the most part, but also insightful in its focus on what happens to those who pay witness to the war as medics and nurses.

What stands out as special with this book of historical fiction?

* Its lyrical and descriptive prose.
*The storyline is unusual. The central character is a Viennese medical student, and the story is set during the First World War in a small mountain village in Galicia, and there, in a field hospital consigned to the village church. From here the story expands to other locations in Galicia.
*This is a love story, but here the angle is unusual too. Two people love not only each other but their (view
Lucius Krzelewski was a young medical student in Vienna who enlisted in the army in WWI to act as a medical assistant, but on his first assignment he discovered that there was no doctor, only a nurse Sister Margarete, a cook and some orderlies. Lucius had never treated patients but he quickly learned from Margarete. One of those patients was a shell shocked man named Horvath. The treatment that Lucius gave to Horvath seemed to be helping him so Lucius conspired to keep Horvath under his care, de ...more
Ron Charles
The beauty of Daniel Mason’s new novel, “The Winter Soldier,” persists even through scenes of unspeakable agony. That tension reflects the span of his talent. As a writer, Mason knows how to capture the grace of a moment; as a doctor, he knows how wrong things can go.

And just about everything goes wrong for Lucius, the young medical student at the center of this historical novel set during World War I. The scion of a wealthy family in Vienna, Lucius has disappointed his ambitious mother and his
♥ Sandi ❣
4 stars Thank you to NetGalley and Little Brown and Company for the chance to read and review this book. Published September 11, 2018.

I had a lot of trouble getting into this book. I felt it read like a foreign dictionary. I was disappointed. I so liked Mason's book The Piano Tuner and was excited to get a chance to read this one. I had so much trouble starting this novel that I almost set it aside. I realize now that having done that would have been a loss for me.

Lucius, dreams of being a sur
switterbug (Betsey)
The Winter Soldier, not for the faint of heart, is less an historical war novel—although that is certainly apropos—but more a study of individuals in the practice of healing that are caught up in war’s impossible circumstances, with outmoded resources and learn-at-the-hip medicine (think MASH unit without the laughs). The boundary between doctor and patient that is taught in academics is difficult to uphold when surrounded by harrowing injuries, sickness, and death, day after day after day, for ...more
Connie G
Lives are forever changed in this World War I novel by Daniel Mason. Lucius, a medical student in Vienna, is sent to a hospital for the troops of Austria-Hungary in a small village in the Carpathian Mountains. Although he has been a brilliant student, he arrives at the hospital with no "hands-on" medical training. The other doctors at the field hospital have either died or deserted. The hospital, located in a church, has been run by Sister Margarete, a nurse who learned to do surgery from observ ...more
The reader witnesses in brutal detail Lucius’ struggle to do his best for the soldiers in his care, many of whom have suffered terrible injuries that challenge his medical knowledge and surgical skills.  His task is made more difficult by the basic conditions in the makeshift field hospital to which he has been posted, the lack of food and medical supplies and the long, cold winters.   

Along with a few orderlies, Lucius, and the hospital’s only nurse, Sister Margarete, care for the patients as b
Oct 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I am thrilled that I stopped resisting The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason. I was leery of delving into another WWI novel, knowing the despair and suffering I would encounter. When I began reading I couldn't stop and stayed up late to finish it.

The novel tells the story of Lucius Krzelewski of Vienna, an inexperienced young medical student who shows much promise but is frustrated by the limitations of medical school. When war breaks out, a friend convinces Lucius that he can get first-hand experi
Paul Lockman
May 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-favourites
4.5 stars. Terrific read! At the end, reading about the author, I wasn’t all that surprised to learn that Daniel Mason is a medical practitioner, he’s an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford. Through the main character Lucius, a medical student in Vienna who is thrown straight into treating soldiers on the front before even graduating, he describes in vivid detail the gruesome nature of the injuries suffered by soldiers in WWI and the prevailing medical knowledge and treatments of the t ...more
I did not know what to expect of this book other than its WWI setting in a field hospital and a main character who was in the process of becoming a doctor. These are the bare bones of the story but only that. Along with some beautiful descriptive prose, there is a full cast of characters from the lowliest peasant to the noblest citizens of Vienna. There are pictures of battlefields so stark that you feel that you can see them. The injuries encountered so varied and awful. The picture of war in t ...more
Inside the covers you'll find a map. Remember those? And such capital-R Romantic locations, too! Galicia, Cracow, the Carpathian Mountains, Budapest, Vienna, the Vistula and the Dnieper. Hungary's empire, you see, just before it all went kablooey.

I'm talking 1914. The War to End All Wars. And why, may I ask, is war so capital-R Romantic when it's in the rearview mirror? Isn't Hell hell from any angle? I thought so.

Anyway, what we have here is Dr. Zhivago Light, my friends. At 22, Lucius Krzelew
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What's the Name o...: SOLVED. War novel about Trauma Doctor? [s] 5 11 May 30, 2021 08:33AM  
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Daniel Mason is the author of The Piano Tuner (2002), A Far Country (2007), The Winter Soldier (2018) and A Registry of My Passage Upon the Earth (2020). He is a recipient of the Joyce Carol Oates Prize and the Northern California Book Award and has been shortlisted for the Jaes Tait Black Memorial Prize. His writing has been translated into 28 languages, and adapted for opera and stage. His short ...more

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Yes, Doctor, we remember her. She went to Kraków. No, she went to Jaroslaw. No, to Sambor. So to Stryj. She was from the mountains, Doctor, wasn't she? She was going home, she said.

Perhaps if you go there, they will know.

And on. And he would continue, a ghost searching for its flesh.”
“One should not grow attached to other people, Doctor,” said Margarete, when he came to the door, and he didn’t know if she was speaking for him or for herself. Her eyes were red, and he wanted to comfort her, but he couldn’t think of what to say. He had thought he was inured to death by then, even prided himself on the calmness with which he absorbed the news of the most recent passing. He who had once stared in shock at the frozen soldier without a jaw. But the great Rzedzian’s body seemed horribly small, the stiffening fingers too familiar, and the way his lip drew back over his teeth reminded him of the corpse of an animal.” 0 likes
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