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Winter Rising

Narrated by: Ell Potter
Series: The Winter Series, Book 2
Length: 10 hrs and 33 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (432 ratings)

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Praise for Winter from listeners of Winter Dark


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.
- CarolC

So unusual to have a good, strong, female lead character and in Winter Dark we finally have one.
– twolittletinkers

Winter is the perfect protagonist mixing Lara Croft/Jason Bourne
- Stephen Hollins

Summary

Winter returns to face the most feared hitman of all time, the Guardsman. 

Winter has put the world of organised crime into crisis by unmasking its boss, Alek Konstantin. Hunted and permanently on the run, he has been caught on camera in Mexico, Virginia and Marseille. Retracing his steps, Winter attempts to uncover his motives and bring the world's most wanted man out of hiding using the tracker he embedded in her wrist. But things aren't quite that simple. After finding Lucy and watching her die a sickening death, Winter's desire to bring down the legendary Guardsman overrides her orders. Knowing Firestorm’s top contract killer is experimenting on victims, she takes a contract out on herself to catch him.  

Once again disguised as her alter ego, Snow White, Winter follows the Guardsman to Moscow expecting to spring the trap. However, things aren't quite what they seem. Who is the Guardsman and why does he know everything about Winter? With the reality of the situation unravelling as the world’s leaders assemble in London, just how much has Winter underestimated her opponent and is the realisation all too late? 

Winter faces her biggest challenge yet in this dark commentary on our surveillance society. 

©2019 Alex Callister (P)2019 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

"If you like Becky Sharp or Emma Peel or Lisbeth Salander, you will love Winter: she can out-punch Bourne and out-pull Bond. And her zinging one-liners leave Jack Reacher for dead." (Andy Martin, author of Reacher Said Nothing and With Child.

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Listened through the night....

That ending. Am actually going to have to listen again to marvel at how that was done (although maybe not tonight!). Great narration by Ell Potter. I read a lot of thrillers and am hard to surprise.
I liked Winter Dark so was predisposed to like the sequel but it has massively surpassed expectations. The set up is the same – a world where murder is freely available via Firestorm and takes place right after Winter Dark.
Alek (aka the Prince of Darkness) is on the run thanks to Winter. Into the power vacuum steps the Guardsman, Firestorm’s top hitman and a serious bad guy. The whole book builds up to the showdown you know is coming between Winter and the Guardsman and it does not disappoint!
It is a more troubled Winter as the world goes to hell in a handcart but in some ways that makes her more satisfying. This Winter has depth (although she is still satisfyingly ass kicking). And she has a couple of teenage new recruits following her around which make for some laugh out loud moments in the middle of the horror.
All in all, it is a thrilling, heart-pumping listen which is genuinely hard to put down. The more I see of Winter the more I like her. Have been searching for info on the next book but it is not up yet.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Female James bond at it's best.

If you liked the first Winter book you will love this one.

Fast-paced, action-packed with a hero you can really get behind.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant

I love discovering a fantastic new book to enjoy and this one definitely fits the bill!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Toby
  • United Kingdom
  • 03-10-19

Top Marks

Alex Callister, you are spoiling us! Great stuff listened to it straight through in one sitting. Couldn’t stop

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Winter’s back!

So glad to see Winter back...an in what style! Loved the first one, was so worth waiting for the sequel!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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WINTER—NOT RISING, BUT SOARING...

With what is beginning to feel like teasing skill, the author Alex Callister has outgeneraled her reviewers, defying them to draw attention to the excellencies of this new addition to the developing legend of Winter without strewing the hungry churchyard with the bones of spoilers. ("Romeo and Juliet", in case you’re wondering.) I am champing at the bit to tell you about the fiendishly clever discrete chapters and their embedded relevance to the plot, the ducklings who waddle into the narrative and establish a welcome presence there, the increasingly dystopian near-future which suddenly seems to become all too close to realisation; but I can’t do so without the risk of the author’s putting into practice some of this new book’s more arcane and grisly ways to suffer. Possibly Ms Callister resembles a benign elderly maiden aunt residing in Bournemouth, sipping tea in the afternoons and delighting in the occasional foray into the world of crochet—and possibly not. This reviewer is certainly not going to chance it. Anyone who can dream up such a sinister and utterly terrifying figure as The Guardsman is assured of my silence as regards the twists and turns in this oh so clever narrative arc—not to mention as many stars as Audible will allow.

Even our greatest writers fail at the hurdle of delivering a second novel to match the admired qualities of their first offering—indeed, it is virtually a truism of literary criticism. But everything which garnered so much praise (not to mention a loyal fan base) in "Winter Dark" where Winter made her debut is there in this sequel—and to the same high standard. Its well-judged pace, its many moments of dark humour, its use of present tense narrative in a way that increases dramatic visualization for the reader are all there; and most of all what the author does best, small-scale interactions between her female characters on all levels, from the momentarily empathetic to the skeptically ironic—and occasionally overtly sexual. Alex Callister seems incapable of creating even a transient walk-on female character who does not immediately come completely alive before the ears, even if that character’s existence is confined to a mere couple of sentences. No contemporary thriller writer known to me does female-to-female interaction better. And talking of other writers, their imprint is there for the hungry literary detective to unearth, if so minded. A book like this does not emerge from a vacuum, but Alex Callister nods only to the crème de la crème: Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, John le Carré’s Smiley, and even dame Agtha—not to mention a host of action movie references for those in the know.

The performance—and it IS a performance, not a mere reading—is just as superlative as it was in "Winter Dark". Ell Potter, Audible’s "break-out narrator for 2019", as the present reviewer understands it, breathes a kind of passionate life into the whole that frankly makes one wonder why Audible does not use her more. For example, see the devilishly clever finale, where both performer and writer are at their finest. This is surely what Audible was invented for.

The word "finale" here is deliberately chosen, for there is a distinctly operatic feel to the climax. It falls in two distinct parts, the first being a small group ensemble and is quite the best scene in the book: doused in black humour, we are treated to the delicious spectacle of an increasingly bewildered Winter faced with her failure to predict correctly imminent events, not once, but three times in succession. From here we move into a grand large cast ensemble second scene for the finale proper, which brings everything to a Wagnerian conclusion. As the final chord dies away and the curtain comes down, before you applaud and head for the exit and the cold street air of quotidian life, you will certainly be asking yourself what this star composer is planning for you the next time you take your seat in the stalls. Whatever devilment it is, my advice is to book early and avoid disappointment.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Should be made into a film! Brilliant!

Just like the first book this one had me hooked from the first chapter. I hope there will be another one and think thses book would make a great film, move over James Bond, Winter is here.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fast paced and gripping. Loved it.

Really great follow up to Winter Dark. Loved the fast pace and Alex Callister’s vivid description took me on a rollercoaster journey from scene to scene with such clarity I felt I was right there by Winter’s side satisfying all senses throughout. Brilliant! Looking forward to more...

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Been waiting ....

Delighted that book 2 is at last available, have been waiting for it! Well done Alex for this inspiring and inventive story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Ell Potter is amazing!

I have love both 'Winter' books, but it is Ell Potter's narration that bring the whole thing to life. She is outstanding, and it is a master class in how to do it right, and many could take a lesson. She could read the back of a soup tin and I would listen. More please, of both author and reader.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-10-19

OBSESSED

Seriously when is book 3 coming out?? Alex Callister is amazing, I am continually enthralled by Winter and Alec. Ell Potter needs to narrate more books bc I love her voice and accents. All around one of my favorite series on Audible! I've already listened to Book 1 + Book 2 twice !

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jenna Ohr
  • 08-10-19

I can’t stop reading

The storyline and the characters are so enthralling. I am literally mesmerized by the story. I want to be Winter!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Terri A. Allerton
  • 24-10-19

Loved it!!

Great audible performance by Ell Potter and a story line that keeps you on the edge of your seat!

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  • Fred271
  • 10-10-19

--

I have to admit I bailed on the first novel in this series, though there was enough in what I did hear to persuade me to try the next book. I'll put the reasons on the table, since they came up a lot in the user reviews.

The main problem was that the main character was described as a little too super. Her hiring committee goes on about her very high intelligence, her talent for extreme sports, her uncanny computer skills, how beautiful she is ... She isn't able to leap tall buildings at a single bound, though, since I imagine it would have come up. She also describes herself as "sexually omnivorous," which I wouldn't have thought came up much in job interviews. That sounded like a warning sign, since the expression sounds gimmicky, and you worry that at some point the story will stop to give you a lecture about it.

Then Winter does display truly supernatural hacking skills, and extraordinary sports skills, and manages to come across Aleks Konstantin, the man with an unknown face that everyone in the world is looking for, though she has no real way of knowing that's him. Then all the bad guys are trying to kill her to keep his secret, though you'd think that she'd have exhausted her usefulness as soon as she got back to headquarters. No Identikit in Britain, apparently, And then ... Well, whatever. That was enough for me.

But thinking about it, that's how stories like this always used to work. Doc Savage was so super and was described in such an adoring way by the narrator that it became embarrassing, and that was typical for pulp heroes. The James Bond stories were absurd, too, and had big organizations like SPECTRE. As for the sexual omnivorousness, it appears that basically means Winter is bisexual and mostly likes good looking people, and yeah, it's pretty logical for this kind of secret agent fantasy, where the agent is good at violence and irresistible to anyone she takes a fancy to. Ian Fleming knew to tone down the superhuman qualities a little (though the Bond movies don't), but, on the other hand, Callister leaves out the sadism and sexism, while still making Winter as emotionally damaged as Bond, so let's call it a draw.

For me, what really makes this work, and led me to try again, is Ell Porter's narration. She's done the hard work to make the reading hang together in a seamless way, she's talented, and she has an infectious joy in the story. She's also got a terrifically appealing voice.

I suppose there are spoilers in what follows, though probably not for anyone who's listened to the first book. It occurred to me as the book went on that, whatever else the Winter stories are, they're also romance novels. That's a risky statement, since all I know about the genre is what I see in the blurbs for Audible books, but the story seems to come down to the relationship between Winter and the bad boy Prince of Darkness. Which is quite okay. It's engaging, the characters are equals, and it makes for a consistent story. After all, one of the premises is that Konstantin is actually trying to be a force for good, by imposing order from inside on some destructive forces, while Winter is tasked with bringing him down. Sooner or later they'll have to join forces, either officially or unofficially.

I don't know whether this is just my problem, but I burn audiobooks as CDs, and in place of the ninth CD, where a lot of the action is, one of the earlier CDs got duplicated.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful