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Summary

After attacking Devil's Reef in 1928, the US government rounded up the people of Innsmouth and took them to the desert, far from their ocean, their Deep One ancestors, and their sleeping god, Cthulhu. Only Aphra and Caleb Marsh survived the camps, and they emerged without a past or a future.

The government that stole Aphra's life now needs her help. FBI agent Ron Spector believes that communist spies have stolen dangerous magical secrets from Miskatonic University, secrets that could turn the Cold War hot in an instant and hasten the end of the human race. Aphra must return to the ruins of her home, gather scraps of her stolen history, and assemble a new family to face the darkness of human nature.

©2017 Ruthanna Emrys (P)2017 Macmillan Audio

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Love it.

I really enjoyed 'The Litany of Earth' by the same author and have been looking forward to this 'book' for months. A low key story set in a Lovecraftian universe, it rattles along to a satisfying conclusion. I loved the setting and the characters.

The narration was excellent as well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Inspired

Interested in mysteries? The terrifyingly vast cosmos? Feminism in the past and present? Just good stories? You'll love it.

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  • Cody Konior
  • 12-07-17

Slow burner

This book is a lot slower than the normal scifi I listen to, and narrated by a female (also rare for me for some reason).

But I really enjoyed it and eagerly await the next in the series.

I'd recommend it if you're interested in Lovecraftian monsters and locations though it is a novel and not much like Lovecraft literature. The imagery is well written and evokes things properly through the senses.

But I also want to thank the narrator for doing possibly the best reading I've ever heard. It was absolutely flawless.

My only gripe for the book itself is that it was a little too slow at times and lost steam at the end. Still, it wrapped things up nicely which is something so many authors refuse or neglect to do - and given everything else I like about the book it's easily forgiven.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Stephanie
  • 09-04-17

Magic, Cold War history, family, and survival

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

"Winter Tide" is a gripping mystery woven through with magic, cosmic wonder, and the taste of deep time. It is also a beautifully written meditation on surviving atrocity, creating family, and risking love in the face of mortality.


Just a few years after the end of WWII, US/USSR tensions are building and there are rumors that the Russians have acquired dangerous magical knowledge. The FBI asks Aphra Marsh for her help in their investigation. Though she has every reason to refuse to help the government that destroyed her home and family, there are equally compelling ones to leave San Francisco and her beloved adopted family the Kotos, with whom she survived the US internment camps, and go back east to Miskatonic University with Agent Spector.


"Winter Tide" is set in a Lovecraftian world, replete with books of ancient lore, fish people, godlike aliens, and cycles of life beyond human comprehension, but you don't have to have more than a passing cultural familiarity with Lovecraft's Mythos in order to be pulled into this book. Emrys' Miskatonic University and Innsmouth feel real and solid, her magical system well-thought out, her theology compelling and deeply felt. Her characters, alien and several flavors of human, are real people with fascinating back stories and complex motivations.


I also strongly recommend this book for long-time Lovecraftians like me. Emry's world-building is excellent, deepening our understanding of familiar characters and locations while finding many interesting new corners to explore. For example, Miskatonic feels like a real university with real students (complete with flighty undergraduates) instead of a convenient repository for forbidden tombs and statuary (and scholars prone to syncope). If you love the Mythos but are troubled by Lovecraft's naked bigotry, you will love the effortless (and entirely non-preachy) way she turns all that on its head, allowing us to live inside the heads of people, human and otherwise, that Lovecraft drew as monsters.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Winter Tide?

The Winter Tide on the beach, in the face of terrible danger to some of the participants. Such beautiful love and courage.

What does Gabra Zackman bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I wouldn't love this book less if I had read instead of listening to it, but the narration was perfect. No off notes at all, just effortless storytelling. Each character's voice was distinct and consistent but none were stereotypical either. She handled the unusual names and vocabulary well too.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Karen W. Lam
  • 22-06-17

Great Premise, Great World...Mediocre Story

What I appreciate about the book is the respect for Lovecraft, the details of the world, the premise of the book and its take on racism, by paralleling the Japanese experience with Innsmouth. Unfortunately, the plot is very slow/non-existent, the characters are maddening apart form the lead character, and the ending is belaboured. The narrator's version of Japanese characters is cringeworthy. Very disappointing read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • HP
  • 20-01-18

About as subtle as Ayn Rand

While I was impressed by the incorporation of Lovecraft's ideas into the world building, that was the highlight of this book. Emrys has a laudable agenda of wanting to help readers understand the negative impact of civil rights abuses, but the use of Mary Sue token characters for heavy-handed social and political commentary became grating and felt like I was reading Atlas Shrugged again. The "good characters" in this book are women, gays and lesbians, minorities, or misunderstood cultists, while the "bad guys" are white, straight, Christian, and male (this also reminds me of James Cameron's Avatar). There were even a few lines that made no sense at all except to attack Christians, conservatives, and anyone in general who doesn't agree with the author's worldview.

Maybe she is over correcting for Lovecraft's views on race, but it comes off as preachy, and preaching to the choir at that--the only people who will enjoy this book already agree with her, while those whose minds she hopes to change will roll their eyes at her shallow portrayal of human beings. Even the good characters could use some humanizing complexity. And while the magical elements had merit and imagination, they were introduced in a workmanlike way that lacked the sense of wonder we get from exploring and discovering magic with the characters (for example, with authors like George Martin).

In short, if you want to learn about Lovecraft's fascinating worlds, I recommend you read Ken Hite or Joshi or Lovecraft himself, or take a class from Amy Sturgis. If you want to read a diatribe on oppression featuring political views that have names, read Winter Tide.

I'm sorry, Ms. Emrys, I think you have excellent ideas, but in the future, please try to do justice in writing even those you disagree with. They are human beings, just like you, and deserve the same respectful treatment. And, as Diana Tietjens Meyers has said in her book on victims' stories, portraying victims of abuse or oppression as heroic paragons only makes people in real life less sympathetic with real victims who fail to live up to the impossible standards we as fiction writers set for them.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Zhuge
  • 30-05-17

excellent interpretation of Lovecraft

Would listen again. Good narration with excellent story and setting. The characters and modern take on Lovecraft from more humane but no less awed eyes is phenomenal.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian M. Hawkins
  • 24-05-17

A brilliant way to turn Lovecraft on his head.

I first became interested in this story through the podcast recording of The Litany of Earth, which was excellent and engaging. This book took the germ of an idea and fleshed of out into something more. I love how the minds of all of the "monsters" carry across and I believe the book does a fantastic job of turning the grey mists of Lovecraft into something multi - dimensional without losing the clammy cold of New England.

1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Arthur Sippo
  • 14-01-18

Excellent extension of Lovecraftian Mythos

This is a superb contribution to the Lovecraftian Mythos that gives another point of view to the side of the classic "monsters". The author understands how occult beings might be motivated in their actions and morally justify their actions. Well done and a worthy addition to the Mythos.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-08-17

Influenced me to look at author's other works

A thoughtful romp within Lovecraft's world. I very much enjoyed the story and her take on the world. I will likely research the author's other works.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • P. C. Gardner
  • 10-06-17

I never knew Lovecraftian horror could be so sweet

fun book, good 'read'. I loved it. true to the source, but far more nuanced and emotionally deep. excellent modern interpretation. Thanks.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful