Blood Red, Snow White

Blood Red Snow White

Costa Children’s Book Award nominee Blood Red, Snow White was written by Marcus Sedgwick and first published in 2007. The tale, told through three short stories, is loosely based on true events but presents a fictionalised account of Arthur Ransome’s experiences in Russia from 1913 to 1919.

The first of the novellas, A Russian Fairy Tale, sets the scene by telling the story of the fall of the Tsarist regime. Sprinkling the story with light fantasy elements, it weaves a tale of woodcutters, royalty, monks and bears while describing the historical events that occurred between Bloody Sunday and the February Revolution of 1917.

The second story, One Night in Moscow, is more of a philosophical piece. Its third person narrative follows Ransome over his early years in Russia, charting his personal conflict as he finds himself both drawn to the ideals of Bolshevism while being disgusted by the atrocities that it causes. Over this time, he meets Evgenia – secretary of Trotsky – and immediately falls in love with her. However, this love puts him in great danger. The more time he spends with her, the more his fellow Englishmen come to believe that he is a communist spy.

The final story, A Fairy Tale, Ending, is told in first person from the perspective of Ransome as he struggles to clear his name. While he is visiting family in England, he discovers that the situation in Russia has grown worse. Civil War has struck the country and he fears that Evgenia could be in grave danger if she is captured by Tsarist White Army. Facing almost certain death, he embarks on a mission to get back into Russia in order to rescue his lover.

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