Vienna, 1914. Lucius is a twenty-two-year-old medical student when World War I explodes across Europe. Enraptured by romantic tales of battlefield surgery, he enlists, expecting a position at a well-organized field hospital. But when he arrives--at a commandeered church tucked away high in a remote valley of the Carpathian Mountains--he discovers a freezing outpost ravaged by typhus. The other doctors have fled, and only a single mysterious nurse named Sister Margarete remains.
But Lucius has never lifted a surgeon's scalpel. And as the war rages across the winter landscape, he finds himself falling in love with the woman from whom he must learn a brutal makeshift medicine. Then one day, an unconscious soldier is brought in from the snow, his uniform stuffed with strange drawings. He seems beyond rescue, until Lucius makes a fateful decision that will change the lives of doctor, patient, and nurse forever.
From the gilded ballrooms of Imperial Vienna to the frozen forests of the Eastern Front; from hardscrabble operating rooms to battlefields thundering with Cossack cavalry, The Winter Soldier is a story of war and medicine, of family, of finding love in the sweeping tides of history, and finally, of the mistakes we make and the precious opportunities to atone.
Daniel Mason is the author of The Piano Tuner (2002), and A Far Country (2007). The Piano Tuner has been translated into 28 languages and adapted for opera and stage. A Far Country was shortlisted for the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Northern California Book Award. His short stories and essays have appeared in Harper's, Zoetrope: All Story and Lapham's Quarterly; in 2014 he was a recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. A Clinical Assistant Professor in the Stanford University Department of Psychiatry, his research interests include the subjective experience of mental illness and the influence of literature, history, and culture on the practice of medicine.