Red Sky at Noon (Montefiore) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Montefiore is a natural storyteller who brings his encyclopedic knowledge of Russian history to life in language that glitters. Montefiore shows that the historian seeking the truth must call upon creativity as much as upon meticulous research. Here’s hoping we get more spellbinding historical fiction from him.
Washington Post

The worthy conclusion to [the Moscow Trilogy]. The vivid interplay between a war story and a love story, and between the Kremlin and the frontline, grants the novel its momentum. Like so much historical fiction, Red Sky at Noon keeps readers turning pages not to learn the end but to better understand the individuals who brought about this end. A gripping adventure, a compelling history, and a work that adds humanity to stories we thought we already knew.
Wall Street Journal

For the sheer pleasure of being swept away in an epic tale of love and war by a master storyteller, Red Sky At Noon by Simon Sebag Montefiore had me enthralled from beginning to end. This is the final part of his Moscow trilogy—a series of compelling historical novels in the great tradition of Scott, Thackeray and Tolstoy.
Sunday Herald (UK)

The gripping final installment of The Moscow Trilogy tells of a man wrongly imprisoned in the Gulags and his fight for redemption. Meticulously researched. In this searing tale of love and war, most moving is the redemptive relationship between a soldier and a nurse that blooms amid the brutality. An homage to the author's favorite Russian writers and the Western masterpieces of Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and Elmore Leonard, such influences pervade this atmospheric tale told in the author's distinct own voice.
Observer (UK)

A gripping novel. Montefiore is brilliant at depicting brooding menace. As the penal battalions are given increasingly risky missions, it is Benya's journey on horseback that we follow behind enemy lines in the grasslands of southern Russia. An epic tale. The language is arresting. It's all beautifully done: a western on the eastern front.
Daily Telegraph (UK)

Mythic and murderous violence in Russia…there are power-drunk Nazis and Soviet traitors, including a particularly memorable villain. Written with brio & deep knowledge of its fascinating subject matter. Red Sky at Noon is a deeply satisfying page turner. There are atrocities on all sides and a smidgen of love as Benya falls for a brave Italian nurse. A subplot follows the ill-starred affair between Stalin's daughter and a Jewish writer. But Benya's struggle to keep his humanity is the memorable spine of the book.
Times (UK)

Amidst the killing and the chaos, a group of prisoners are offered a chance of redemption on a secret mission behind enemy lines on horseback. Montefiore has a keen sense of place and an eye of unexpected details. Switching between the frontline on the Russian steppes and Stalin in the Kremlin, this is an exciting and fast-paced adventure and a lament for love in dark and brutal times.
Mail on Sunday (UK)

Montefiore's skill with imagery is such that he immerses the reader in an utterly ethereal landscape, only to snap them into horror as men emerge from rippling sunflowers with "swords streaked with blood and grass," and that soft horizon is suddenly filled "squadrons of tanks like steel cockroaches." Montefiore can effortlessly meld beauty with battle. Vivid and impeccably researched.
Times Literary Supplement (UK)

(Starred review.) Montefiore’s third novel in his Moscow Trilogy.… Montefiore’s immersive portrayal of the Eastern Front makes this a gripping, convincing tale.
Publishers Weekly

Montefiore has legions of fans…, but his "Moscow Trilogy" opens the floodgates to the imaginative re-creation of archival facts.… World War II fiction aficionados will want to read this. —Barbara Conaty, Falls Church, VA
Library Journal

(Starred review.) [Montefiore's]…latest demonstrates his deftness in crafting a deeply engaging story that is only enriched by his skills as a historian and biographer. Offering historical accuracy, a fine empathy for his characters…Red Sky at Noon is brilliant on multiple levels.

A novel this ambitious could use a little more moral nuance, as the characters are either all good or (in most cases) all evil. Yet the gritty war scenes and the lovers' pursuit keep the pages turning.
Kirkus Reviews

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