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Winter Dark

Audible's Thriller of the Year 2019
Narrated by: Ell Potter
Series: The Winter Series, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 31 mins
4 out of 5 stars (776 ratings)

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About Winter

Master hacker, highly intelligent, combat trained: Winter is a very modern spy. Worlds apart from the straitlaced characters created in the minds of Ian Fleming and John le Carré , Alex Callister's lead protagonist wouldn't dream of playing the part of the impeccable agent. However, despite her intimidating skillset, Winter is delightfully human and often prone to prioritizing her libido over her employer. Undeniably sexy and exceptionally accomplished, Winter is a true 21st-century heroine.

A thrilling performance from rising star Ell Potter

Introducing the Slashstorm website
Winter goes Russian
Meeting the Marquise (explicit)
Winter gets into the ring

Winter brought to life

  • Winter Dark
  • Introducing the Slashstorm website
  • Winter Dark
  • Winter goes Russian
  • Winter Dark
  • Meeting the Marquise (explicit)
  • Winter Dark
  • Winter gets into the ring

A note to our listeners

She's terrifyingly quick-witted and intimidatingly sexy with a superhuman skillset: Winter is a woman to be reckoned with. Everyone on the Audible team was immediately drawn to Winter, and we didn’t hesitate in naming this our Thriller of the Year 2019. Alex Callister has perfectly captured today's mood, so cast aside all your current preconceptions of traditional spy novels because Winter Dark puts you right in the middle of a terrifying near-future world plagued by perverse online crime.

Ahead of the audiobook's release on 21st March, we put some of our thoughts on film.
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About the Narrator

Ell Potter is in her final year at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). She has appeared in the school’s productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, playing Helena, and New England, playing Alice Berry. She is also a writer and comedian, and in 2018 took her two-woman show HOTTER to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where it enjoyed a sellout run and was named an Evening Standard Best New Writing of 2018. It has since secured a transfer to the prestigious Soho Theatre. She has been entered for the 2019 Carleton Hobbs BBC radio drama competition. Ell has devoured audiobooks for as long as she can remember, growing up on Harry Potter and His Dark Materials during long car journeys. Winter Dark is her first audiobook.

Meet the author of Winter Dark

Alex Callister is the pseudonym of an industry expert on media, telecoms and internet stocks. She studied history at Oxford and the British School at Rome and was set for a career in academia until the beginning of the tech boom woke a lifelong interest in internet shares. Alex has spent her career visiting high security web hosting sites and speculating on what might go wrong. Winter Dark is her debut novel and the first in the Winter series.
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What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gripping and charming

You can’t help but fall for Winter’s unusual charm as we follow her adventures through a story of twists and turns. The exceptional narration is key to the ease with which I could follow the story - I was so unbelievably immersed in this other world. Escapism at its finest.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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An illicit romance at the heart of a dark thriller

I don’t normally read thrillers but the trailer and blurb on this one promised a strong female secret agent character to rival Bond or Bourne so I thought I would give it a go. The action takes place across a series of glamorous (and some not so!) glamorous locations all vividly described. The heroine has virtually superhuman abilities and a penchant for sex and violence. There are many twists and turns as we travel through the criminal underworld with our larger than life heroine, while she tries to discover the identity of the ‘Prince of Darkness' and stop the threatened televised terror from going ahead.

This is a vision of a dystopian near future where the darker side of the web predominates. But it is also a thriller with a love story - albeit not your average love story! The romance side is accentuated by the fairy tale elements which I did not expect - Snow White obviously, but also Bluebeard in his castle, the mirror, mirror elements, and hints of beauty and the beast - all with a dark twist.

All in all a gripping piece of story-telling.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Winters coming....

Absolutely loved this book, looking forward to the next one. This needs to be made into a film.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Exciting read

Great story really loved it. lLooking forward to next one Definitely on my wish list.


7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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superb

not my normal go to for an audio book
but omw am I happy I did
already preordered the sequel and I cant wait to hear it.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Must read fast paced action thriller

This genre is not usually my cup of tea at all but oh my goodness. Great writing, page turning action and a topic which is so current meant that this one was completely unputdownable (is that a word? Should be!)

Winter - love that name - is kick-ass, flawed, human, believable and fabulous. It made me sad to finish the book and cannot wait for the next one. Alex Callister, start writing please, NOW!

18 of 22 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Winter in Spring Isn't Quite Thriller of the Year!

Okay so let's not worry too much about the odd idea that we can declare a book the Thriller of the Year 2019 before we've all chomped our way through our Easter Eggs! It's an odd idea but as Audible say they didn't hesitate to do it let's just go with it for now.

What they did promise though was a ' gripping, fast-paced ride through a disturbingly plausible technological future' and certainly they make good on some of that. This is fast-paced with plenty of action but working as I do in the IT industry I'm going to baulk a little at the 'disturbingly plausible' part. Although Audible are keen to differentiate Winter from Bond & co she is actually remarkably similar in many ways. She's just as joyously implausible, maybe lacking the refined charm but still entertaining, bold and full of spunky bravado. Similar to Artemis by Andy Weir WInter will appeal to many but annoy some as seeming as much like a teenage boy's caricature of a powerful female character as a truly genuine persona. The author gives very little background as to how this gorgeous, super-skilled martial arts fighter with insanely good computer hacking capabilities develops above and beyond being brought up in a tough boarding school . . . enough said! Hopefully, as the series progresses we'll get more of this.

Okay, so I still enjoyed it well enough, if you can short circuit the reality-check circuits in your brain this is a fun story and certainly some of the ways that Winter extricates herself from dangerous situations would genuinely make even Bond raise a Roger Moore eyebrow heavenwards. Ell Potter is a more than capable narrator with good changes of pace, tone and tempo and she carries this roller-coaster ride of a story with real aplomb.

So, overall, this is a fun piece of fiction if you are in the mood for the Audible equivalent of a popcorn action flick with lots of action and a hero with more sauce than HP! Is it a "thriller of the year"? Well, I suspect there will be quite a few other authors gritting their teeth over that one but the rest of us can enjoy it for what it is regardless!

66 of 84 people found this review helpful

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Seamless narration and a realistic heroine

Superb narration, really nailing each character. Was interested to hear the actor 's process in the interview after the book.All that prep work certainly paid off.
Great story with a modern protagonist who doesn't require pigeonholing. She is just brilliant. Looking forward to the next book!

20 of 25 people found this review helpful

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Move Over Reacher - There's a New Girl in Town!



I'm fairly new to audiobooks, but decided to try this Audible Exclusive. I'm delighted to say how much I loved Winter Dark, and the journey I was taken on with Ell Potter's excellent narration bringing it to life.

Winter is a vivid character with a daring, wild attitude - a heroine who breaks the stereotype of government spies and action heroes. I could almost picture her and and Jack Reacher meeting in a dark alley, knowing Winter would give him a run for his money. Winter is a woman of action, not emotional narrative, but there's hints of a fascinating underlying character who I imagine will be slowly revealed over the planned series. Fascinated to see what's behind the facade.

There was so much I loved as I went on Winter's journey, keeping me awake most of last night, the riveting action, steamier scenes and the subverting of Snow White stereotypes were all handled superbly. The insight into a scarily realistic, near future web world fascinated me. Alex Callister's handling of high tech, with her career expertise as noted on her author bio, definitely made me feel in safe hands.

The sharp writing was evocative, and I could see Winter hurling down ski slopes, hanging from rooftops, saving lives and the world, while showing the most wanted man in it how things are done.

Can't wait till the next in the series!  


27 of 34 people found this review helpful

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Incredible!

This is one of the most compelling stories I've heard in a very long time. It's got some great twists, Winter is an extremely strong and complex character who is smart and skilled and utterly fearless. The narration was really engrossing and held me spellbound! I have pre-ordered the sequel and can't wait to adventure with her more.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Tammy
  • 30-03-19

Didn't live up to my expectations

I really wanted to love this book based on the fantastic reviews from others. But the truth is I "liked it ok". I'm being generous with 3 stars because if 2.5 were an option, that would have been my choice. For me, it was like a Jason Matthews cheaper knock off that is oversexed when the sex has little to do with the story.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Avila
  • 18-04-19

Self Indulgent

I regard myself as open minded but the explicit and gratuitous sex was irrelevant to the story. Why? The book reads or should I say sounds like a recording of a fantasy session with the author's therapist.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Jason
  • 04-04-19

This book wants to be a movie, not a novel

The narration is great, and the only reason I stuck with it to the end.

The way the book is written didn't work for me. It jumps around, even in a single scene. Sort of like watching a movie. But the movie includes other visual and audible cues to help make the story contiguous. So, imagine just reading a movie script. That's what it felt like to listen to this book.

Also, the book is a first-person perspective. And that person isn't very deep, engaging, or sensible.

But, it would still make a fun action film - just not a good novel.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • jsnipes
  • 01-04-19

Started strong, then became nonsensical

Don’t get me wrong, I like those summer beach reads. I enjoy the old read it and toss it books. This book started strong and I wanted to prove the negative reviews wrong — that they just didn’t appreciate the “junk food” nature of this type of book. But alas. Half way through I couldn’t even pay attention anymore. It became stupid and nonsensical. There wasn’t even a story half way through. Just mental thoughts of the lead character. I think what messed this book up was that it was hyped up so intensely on the Audible cover page. I wanted to like it. And in the end I gave it 3 stars even though my hearts saying a 2 or even a 1.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • JMabie
  • 28-03-19

Returned

It's not what I was looking for. I was hoping for more of a cyber-thriller, and though it had that aspect, it was very sexually graphic. I don't have an issue with that, but it's not what I was looking for so, I returned the book.

15 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jessica Cancino
  • 30-03-19

Amazing 👌

Loved the book. The narrator was fantastic and the story was truly engaging. can't wait to hear what's next.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Little Lion
  • 31-03-19

A solid "No," from me

This book makes me thankful for Audible's return policy. It's an interesting concept but poorly executed.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Roadmaster
  • 27-04-19

Midnight Reader

Couldn’t get into story. It seamed to bounce between excessive word usage to explain the most unimportant, insignificant fact to torrid sex passages that ran on and on. It was to much of an effort to stay with the story and finally I had to put the book down. That is something I never do .

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Åsmund
  • 24-04-19

Too much unnecessary sex

The main complaint i have with this book is the sheer volume on unnecessary sexual descriptions. I am by no means a prude, and sometimes the graphic description is appropriate in a storyline - but this book is the first where I have stopped reading and returned it three quarters finished because of the sheer volume of sexual activity (and I have read and enjoyed all the Game of Thrones-books)...

Pretty good underlying storyline and good narration - but beware of the level of sexual descriptions...

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Cyndi L.
  • 21-04-19

trouble with book it kept stopping

couldn't listen to it, might have liked it. The recording kept stopping. Too much hands on manipulation. very frustrating.