Winter by Dan Grace (ebook review).

March 10, 2016 | By | Reply More

At 67 pages, ‘Winter’ by Dan Grace falls somewhere between a short story and a novel. It should have enough space to develop a plot or characters before a tidy ending which are often missing from short stories. In keeping with its name, ‘Winter’ is a grim story set in a grim time. The characters have made it to the Scottish side of the borders during winter and things are harsh.


While the details are a little sketchy, it seems society has largely broken down in a future England with revolutions and anarchy breaking out all over. The main character of the story is a man called Adam who’s leading the survivors of his revolutionary group to his parents’ home in the Scottish borders. They are fleeing England after something went wrong to give them time to recoup and plan their next move. On arriving at the lodge, they discover it’s already inhabited by two eastern Europeans, Ingold and Mikhail, who have also fled England. Seeing it was empty, the two broke in and have been living there waiting for the spring.

Most of the story is about the interaction of Adam’s group and the Europeans. Mikhail appears to be a shaman or druid figure that’s increasingly becoming subsumed in the natural world around him. He is able to use his powers to heal a sick member of the party but is not liked by Adam, leading to antagonism within the group. However, they must get along to some extent to be able to survive the Scottish winter.

The chapters of the story don’t follow a linear time-line which has its good and bad points. For example, Chapter 1 opens with Adam, Mikhail and others from the group out hunting deer. Chapter 2 jumps back to Adam and the group’s flight from England. This works when it’s obvious it’s a flashback but, in later chapters, it’s not as obvious as to when an incident occurred. This can make things a little confusing.

Given the limited space, one of the things that’s not developed is Adam’s revolutionary philosophy. We don’t get to know what he’s fighting for or what he believes in, just that he’s fighting. The ending, when it comes, isn’t what I would call a real ending. Adam has a revelation but we are not told the details and then the story ends. To me, this reads very much like an excerpt from a larger book. Preceding it would be the revolutionary events in England and following it would be what Adam does with his new found insight. Without these it just seems incomplete.

Andy Whitaker

March 2016

(pub: Unsung Stories. 67 page ebook. Price: £ 1.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-907389-14-6)

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Category: Books, Fantasy, MEDIA

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About AndyWhitaker

I live in deepest darkest Essex where I enjoy photography, real ales, walking my dog, cooking and a really good book. I own an e-book reader which goes with me everywhere but still enjoy the traditional paper based varieties.

My oriental studies have earned me a black belt in Suduko and I'm considered a master in deadly Bonsai (there are very few survivors).

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