If I had one word to describe this novel, I think “visceral” suits pretty well. Rebane is a great character, a tough young woman who faces almost impossible odds in escaping the clutches of the psychotic Major Weisser.
Set in a sparse, wintry landscape which emphasises the post-apocalyptic world, I’m not kidding when I say this is heart-pounding stuff. The chase across the snowy wasteland begins after two really ugly (and very well-written) torture and rape scenes respectively, as Weisser attempts to exert his power over her. I’m afraid to say I kind of read these through my fingers. Even so, they didn’t feel gratuitous. I’m glad the author went there boldly, but they are not for the faint-hearted so be warned.
The author has obviously meticulously researched her subject, and convincingly creates the armed forces, their techniques and weaponry, without going into tedious detail. Rebane may be small but she is a true soldier. She takes a beating and comes out fighting but she isn’t devoid of humanity. She believes in the ancient deities of her homeland, and befriends a young woman who should have been an enemy.
In the end, this is a bleakly beautiful novel of survival, of a strong female character using her wits and skills to evade the men pursuing her, who puts her trust in the right person and heeds the wise guidance of her Nordic beliefs. Rebane is an ultra-modern role model for the unpredictable world we live in, and the author is definitely one to watch.
Twenty-five years after the nuclear war, the world is still a harsh, frozen place. Second Lieutenant Rebane Nordstrom, a sniper in the ranks of a Russian elite reconnaissance unit, doesn’t know how to give up…ever. After someone assassinates the president of the European Union, the EU forces capture her and her lover. He soon disappears, but Rebane has no time for grief. She faces her worst nightmare in the form of Major Weisser, a man who commands the European Union counter-intelligence with an iron fist.
Thrust into a world ruled by torture, and constant fear, the battered, weakened Rebane knows her only chance of survival is to escape from the fortress that holds her captive. Faced with certain death, she becomes an unstoppable force, and escapes the womb of hell. But her battle is far from over. A race across the post-apocalyptic badlands starts, but the man hunting her is a force of nature. Weisser destroys everything in his path. Can the Invisible Zone-the furthest corner of sub-zero Scandinavia-wipe out Rebane’s footprints in the snow?
No woman is an island, not even one as capable as Rebane. She saves a teenager named Liva, and an alliance forms between the desperate women from the opposite sides of the conflict. As the Russian Federation and the European Union head toward the final battle for diminishing resources, Liva proves to have aces up her sleeve.
Spirit animals and ancient Nordic deities have their role in the surprise outcome of this spy thriller. Where arctic weather wipes out armies, heeding an omen can spare your life.