> Skip to content
  • Published: 5 September 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448150014
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

One Night in Winter

By the author of the world-wide bestsellers, Jerusalem, and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and based on a true story, a heart-breaking, addictively readable love story set in Stalin's Russia.

Winner of the Political Fiction Book of the Year 2014.

By the author of the world-wide bestsellers, Jerusalem, and Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, and based on a true story, a heart-breaking, addictively readable love story set in Stalin's Russia.

If your children were forced to testify against you, what terrible secrets would they reveal?

Moscow 1945. As Stalin and his courtiers celebrate victory over Hitler, shots ring out. On a nearby bridge, a teenage boy and girl lie dead.

But this is no ordinary tragedy and these are no ordinary teenagers, but the children of Russia's most important leaders who attend the most exclusive school in Moscow.

Is it murder? A suicide pact? Or a conspiracy against the state?

Directed by Stalin himself, an investigation begins as children are arrested and forced to testify against their friends - and their parents. This terrifying witch-hunt soon unveils illicit love affairs and family secrets in a hidden world where the smallest mistakes will be punished with death.

  • Published: 5 September 2013
  • ISBN: 9781448150014
  • Imprint: Cornerstone Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 496

About the author

Simon Sebag Montefiore

Simon Sebag Montefiore is the author of the acclaimed novels of his Moscow Trilogy – Sashenka, Red Sky at Noon and One Night in Winter, which won the Paddy Power Political Novel of the Year Prize and was longlisted for the Orwell Prize: the novels are published in 27 languages. Montefiore is also the author of prize-winning bestselling history books now in 48 languages, including Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, Jerusalem: The Biography and The Romanovs.

For more information see: www.simonsebagmontefiore.com or follow him on Twitter: @simonmontefiore.

Also by Simon Sebag Montefiore

See all

Praise for One Night in Winter

Gripping and cleverly plotted. Doomed love at the heart of a violent society is the heart of Montefiore's One Night in Winter... depicting the Kafkaesque labyrinth into which the victims stumble.

The Sunday Times

A nail-biting drama ... Montefiore writes brilliantly about love, timeless dilemmas, family devotion, teenage romance and the grand passion of adultery. Readers of Sebastian Faulks and Hilary Mantel will lap this up.

Mail on Sunday

A master storyteller when writing as a historian, Sebag Montefiore’s fiction is just as compelling in this thriller set in Stalin’s Moscow.


A thrilling work of fiction. Montefiore weaves a tight, satisfying plot, delivering surprises to the last page. Stalin's chilling charisma is brilliantly realised. The novel's theme is Love: family love, youthful romance, adulterous passion. One Night in Winter is full of redemptive love and inner freedom.

Evening Standard

There were several first-class novels of historical intrigue in 2014; this finely written chronicle of privileged adults and children afraid for their lives in the treacherous upper reaches of Stalin’s Russia in 1945 is in a league of its own.

Wall Street Journal

What happens when you cross Donna Tartt’s The Secret History with one of the scariest times in Russian history? You end up with Simon Sebag Montefiore’s One Night in Winter ... Based in truth, this novel will keep you biting your nails until the very end.

Books and What Not Blog

Snuggle up in front of the fire with a glass of red and this captivating story ... a dark enigmatic thriller ... the way he weaves fiction and history is a true gift.

Marie Claire

Seriously good fun... the Soviet march on Berlin, nightmarish drinking games at Stalin's countryhouse, the magnificence of the Bolshoi, interrogations, snow, sex and exile... lust adultery and romance. Eminently readable and strangely affecting.

Daily Telegraph

Not just a thumpingly good read, but also essentially a story of human fragility and passions, albeit taking place under the intimidating shadow of a massive Stalinist portico.

The National

Compulsively involving. Our fear for the children keeps up turning the pages... We follow the passions with sympathy... The knot of events tugs at a wide range of emotions rarely experienced outside an intimate tyranny.

The Times

The novel is hugely romantic. His ease with the setting and historical characters is masterly. The book maintains a tense pace. Uniquely terrifying. Heartrending.

The Scotsman

This tightly written page-turner crackles with authenticity ... if you are wiping away a tear by the end it wont be the thanks to the chill of Soviet winter. Love and death swirl at the heart of One Night in Winter. A terrific storyteller.

Daily Express

Hopelessly romantic and hopelessly moving. A mix of lovestory thriller and historical fiction. Engrossing.


A novel full of passion, conspiracy, hope, despair, suffering and redemption... transcends the boundaries of genre, being at once thriller and political drama, horror and romance. His ability to paint the tyrannical Stalin in such a way as to make the reader quake with fear is matched by his talent for creating truly heartbreaking characters: the children who innocently find themselves...behind the dank walls of the dreaded Lubyanka prison; their parents, torn between the need to be seen as loyal Bolsheviks and the love they have for their families ... One Night in Winter is a gripping read and must surely be one of the best novels of 2013.


Delicately plotted and buried within a layered, elliptical narrative, One Night in Winter is also a fidgety page-turner which adroitly weaves a huge cast of characters into an arcane world.

Time Out

Engrossing novel… based on similar real events and certainly his ease with the setting and historical characters is masterly…the invented characters are well-drawn too.

Scotland on Sunday

Sebag's new novel draws in the reader and renders time meaningless. Brilliantly depicted.

Jewish Chronicle

One Night in Winter entertains and disturbs and seethes with moral complexities: how far would we go to preserve a secret or protect a loved one? All aspects of this “intensified life” are captured in this intricate, at times sobering, but always absorbing novel.

The Australian

A novel of passion, fear, bravery, suffering and survival ... novel mostly about love ... predictably terrifying — but the novel’s romantic soul tempers the terror and makes for a gripping read ... pitch-perfect.

The Spectator


The Scotsman

This gripping novel is a chilling reminder of the darkest days of Communist Russian, and the power one man can wield over a nation’s lives.

Daily Mail

A gripping thriller about private life and poetic dreams in Stalin’s Russia… A gripping page-turner… Whether its subject is power or love, a darkly enjoyable read.

The Guardian

A compelling and uplifting story of love and endurance.

Country Life

A compelling read.


This is one of those rare and thrilling books that you devour hungrily but hope will never end.... If there is one book you must read this year, let it be this one. One Night In Winter is one of the most engaging, gripping and heartbreakingly tragic novels of 2013.

CultureFly Blog

A compelling, cleverly plotted novel.

BBC History Magazine

This moving novel from Simon Sebag Montefiore will have you gripped to the end.


This bone-chilling story; with lashings of snow and sec, offers us a vividly engrossing portrait of Soviet Russia.


A bleak and well-plotted thriller.

Irish Business Post

Simon Sebag Montefiore uses all his deep knowledge of Russia’s history to build a bleak and well- plotted thriller

Sunday Business Post

Mixing real figures with fictional creations is a challenge for any historical novelist, but the vivid cameos here, particularly of Stalin and his dissolute son, Vasily, give this page-turner the grim stamp of authenticity.


One Night in Winter is compulsively involving and readers do not need to bring much previous knowledge of Russian 20th-century history, or the ambience of the time. The author meticulously supplies both.

The Times

This is a gripping and cleverly plotted read

The Sunday Times

A seriously enjoyable romp

Seven magazine, Sunday Telegraph

This gripping novel – a combination of political thriller, love story and historical fiction – is a chilling reminder of how totalitarian regimes corrupt everything they touch, especially human relationships.

Daily Mail, You Magazine

It is an eminently readable tunic-ripper, and strangely affecting.

Daily Telegraph

A masterpiece of historic fiction

Sunday Mail

This is a tale of passion, power and politics that I simply couldn’t put down.


The author draws nuanced people about who the reader cares and villains who repel with their casual disregard for human life. He gives an insight into the machinations of the Stalinist state and provides little details that lift the book out of the ordinary

The Irish Times

There aren’t many writers as confident and competent in fiction as in non-fiction but Simon Sebag Montefiore is one of them. A gripping yarn and a good history at the same time.

Vince Cable

A political novel captures the nightmarish world of post-World War II Russia. As Stalin twists the Childrens Case to his own ends, the truly magnetic power of ONE NIGHT IN WINTER becomes clear. The stirring of our deepest fears and their unexpected resolution - at this, Montefiore is the master. In the hands of the right author, Stalin, endangered children and Moscow 1945 are enough to make a novel.

Washington Post

Enthralling.Mr Montefiore is masterly at sketching scenes (passionate, melancholy or menacing) and limning characters. Not until the book's epilogue are the ultimate secrets revealed: the calculated or heedless acts of young and old who cast their fates with love.

Wall Street Journal

Related titles