A young man has spent World War II as a resistance fighter with the "Devil's Rebels" in Poland. Now, a brain injury has left him with amnesia and alone in a small mostly destroyed village caught between two enemies--the advancing Russian army and the retreating German army. The Germans are still seeking to punish the rebels who fought so fiercely against their army. The only possession he has is a torn photograph and the hope offered by a young mysterious woman.
I read Chris Stewart's spare novel Winter Sky in a single afternoon. It's a beautiful story of faith and promise even in the ugly conclusion of an ugly war. The young man's journey is fraught with peril and those around him, would-be helpers and traitors, are not unaffected by hate, love and sacrifice that come in his wake. The writing captures the intensity of emotion as the reader roots for the sympathetic young man. There are twists and turns and surprises within this inspiring and poignant story.
I love brevity, but in this particular case, Winter Sky would have been better served with more time to get to know the characters. I didn't have time to care deeply enough about the young man and the others he meets, so that the gripping ending isn't as heartrending as it could have been.
Ultimately, Stewart is successful at telling a dark story of war without getting oppressively desolate. It's meaningful and hopeful and encouraging even in the midst of hate and carnage of war. Winter Sky is a powerful story that I won't soon forget.
Winter Sky by Christ Stewart was published by Shadow Mountain and released in September 2016.
**I received a complimentary copy. This review reflects my honest opinions. No compensation was received.**