My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Segwick is such a writer. Such a writer.
I have always struggled with the bald facts of history and the way that whilst precision and figures are all very good, somehow all I want to see – all I need to see to understand this moment – is the look on the girls face as she watches her love walk off to war. History resides in people. We are our story. We walk in the feet of these stories every day. My problem with history was that I loved it, but what I loved, wasn’t history. It was something out of story and of imagination and of stepping far, far away from the truth.
And here Sedgwick does something quite spectacular. Framing his story around facts, around crystal clear moments of fact and of names that burn through history, he tells a story of love and of loss and of intrigue and double-crossing and of twisting words and lies in the maelstrom of the Russian Revolution.
He is good, good, good is Sedgwick, in the way that he has a tapestry of story and the way the threads all, eventually, come together in the right way. He is not an easy read in places for he is so unexpected in his prose. Blood Red, Snow White slides through a whole world of genre, quite dizzyingly so, and shifts from fairytale to spy drama to love story and back again, often within a heartbreak of a heartbeat.
I like him. I like what he does. This is history span and reshaped and remade with a great and envy-inducing skill. It is not fact, as Sedgwick quite happily admits, but it is story. It is so very much story.