Capturing the flux of political discontent and unease, Blood Red Snow White is a powerful composite novel set amidst the Russian revolution that intertwines the stories of the Czars, the Russian revolution and children’s author Arthur Ransome’s time as a spy for the British secret service.
Caught between the drama and pace of a thriller and the elegance and stature of folk-lore and fairytale, the novel is at once engaging and told with an extraordinary sense of lyricism. Sedgwick’s use of the diction, rhetoric and devices of the fairytale transposes itself with remarkable ease to the contrasting courtly world of Russia and the raging discontent that powered the revolution. Ransome’s epic voyage from Moscow to Reval enables Sedgwick to depict the different sections of the Russian community and their heightened individual fears and anxiety throughout this period of great instability.
At once rich in allegory and historical detail, Blood Red Snow White is an extraordinary novel that delineates with clarity of vision individual concerns against the great sweeping expanses of societal unrest. Sedgwick’s achievement is in fusing these elements into an absorbing and stimulating tale that cements his position as one of the most powerful and innovative writers of contemporary fiction for this age.