Wolf Winter

Wolf Winter

by Clare Francis

In the chill of the Cold War, two Norwegians are shot dead after straying into Soviet wilderness, killings that will bind three people together in a web of treachery and passion.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Thriller
  • Rating: 3.87
  • Publish Date: November 1st 1988 by Pan Books (UK)
  • Isbn10: 0330304771
  • Isbn13: 9780330304771

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Overall I enjoyed this thriller set in Norway although I did find that it didn't always hold my interest completely throughout.

We explore the icy tundra of northern Norway, the politics of the Cold War, and interpersonal relationships, in this thrilling novel, which is impossible to put down.

There were a few timeline scenes that really stood out for me: January 1945 Hal and Jan The two men are making a quick, but careful descent of Goalsvarre Mountain in the Lyngen Alps of northern Norway. There seemed to be no sign of the German 20th Mountain Army, and as a result, the two men were optimistic that this was confirmation of the rumors theyd heard that the German Army was retreating along the Arctic coast, falling back away from the Russian border, back through Finland and eventually into Norway. As they came closer, Hal and Jan noticed the rifles slung over their shoulders, an unmistakable sign that this was a German patrol. Suddenly the patrol begin pursuing two other skiers who were moving in the opposite direction of Hal and Jan, up the far mountain pass. Despite the ground the Germans were gaining, they were not going to reach the ridge and the safety of the high mountains in time to ensure capture of the men above them. Hal and Jan watched the men reach the ridge, then turn back to look down at their pursuers. Hal and Jan pull back into the cover of trees, not wanting to be arrested if someone saw them in close proximity to the scene. After the avalanche is over, the men above begin skiing downward, stopping at a high point of snow mound left by the avalanche, and there, as best as Hal and Jan could tell, began digging. The men skied near them and Hal and Jan emerged from their hiding place in the trees, We saw what happened. They ask for food and Hal is about to hand it to them when another German patrol appears, the four men flee to a safer place to make camp. They find a suitable place and Hal and Jan give food to the men. One of the men then said that theyd previously executed one German soldier, then noticed Hals displeasure at hearing this. Hal knew the reprisals for those who killed Germans were severe, Sometimes these things have to be done the one man said defensively. After they ate, the two men slept while Hal and Jan kept watch. The one man asked if he could exchange his skis for Hals because he was travelling further and was unsure as to whether his pair would survive the greater distance. One day, shortly after the Germans were defeated, Hal pulled out the pair of skis he exchanged with the unnamed man back on that cold January evening. I liked how this scene opened with Hal and Jan in action. But most of all, the scene told us the story of two men, Hal and Jan who had one of the strongest, most durable partnerships two people can have. February 1960 Hal and Jan The team is split for the first time: This segment opens with Major Halvard Starheim standing alone, high on the mountain. He skied down to one of the huts, seeing that men were prepared to leave, and just then bumped into Major Thrane. He always thought of Thrane as a desk man those who fretted about the wrong things while at the same time betraying their ignorance of real field operations by using euphemisms such as intelligence expedition as a way of legitimizing the use of civilians in what were really military operations. Hal knew that this mission would be one of those he disliked most, once created by desk men, manned by civilians and labelled semi military. He fretted knowing that some of his men, along with civilian counterparts were to take part in this mission, he protests to Thrane once again, only to hear the desk man repeat his position, Youre a serving officer, you know you cant be found outside. Hal looks to the civilians, local Lapps and a fear comes over him that they will be used as hapless spies in this ill planned, clandestine operation. Hal then looked, realizing he was seeing the man who was drive the first leg of the trip. Major Thrane asked Hal, interrupting his thoughts. Hal calls out, laughing as he looks to the man hes completed so many mission with over the last fifteen years. Hal watched Jan step into the Land Rover, recalling how the two of them built this Arctic travel and survival techniques team. Thats our problem not yours Thrane insists, then reminds Hal that there are certain operations that must function in the grey areas, something he knew was necessary from a political standpoint of view, but something that field specialists, men like Hal, never really appreciated. The two men parted ways and Thrane looks at Hal, smiling as he thinks of him as a prickly independent something the Major grudgingly admired. February 1960 Jan, Mattis and the Skolt Lapp The Mission The army Land Rover made its way from the hut at Porsangmoen, climbing steadily to the high plateau, eventually reaching the Lapp town of Karasjok, the former winter quarters of the Lapp, and the only civilization within fifty miles. Jan, Mattis and the third man had come about two miles from the lake. They were nearing the Pasvik River, a place Jan knew to be regularly patrolled, it was then he noticed that the third man, the one who had earlier claimed exhaustion, was now skiing at a vigorous pace. Francis demonstrates her keen ability to create two to three person scenes over and over again, some of my other favorites was one I thought of as Erik and Sonja A Precarious Liaison one between Rolf Berg and mysterious Alex and Hal, Ragna and Rolf at the press conference.

I was sorry that I plodded on because the ending wasn't worth the effort.

Clare Francis's first novel; Night Sky was published in 1983 to international success. Her latest crime novel Unforgotten has just been published. After five years at the Royal Ballet School she went to an A-level crammer in Oxford (where she appeared in the university revue Keep This to Yourself), then to University College London, where she obtained a degree in Economics. Clare Francis lives in London and the Isle of Wight, and loves opera and walking.