- Peter Darman
'The Ice March' is a historical military novel by Peter Darman, set during WW1 and the months afterwards. Darman is the author of two series of historical military novels: the Parthian Chronicles and the Crusader Chronicles (both reviewed on this site), as well as a number of non-fiction military books. His past, as an analyst within Defence intelligence, shows clearly in his descriptive writing - in fact, more so here where 'modern' weapons start to make an appearance.
The book follows the fortunes of Mikhail Petrov, a Russian peasant from a small village near Moscow, who finds himself conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army in 1914. As with all Darman's other novels, the historical detail is precise which makes for an utterly realistic and compelling read. For Russians, the years between 1914-1920 were not only tragically devastating in human terms but also politically cataclysmic as Bolshevism took hold. The novel finds Petrov in the centre of all this, giving an insider's view of the changes against the backdrop of a violent war.
Indicative of this change, Petrov finds himself fighting for the Imperial Army, the Red Army and the White Army. The title of the book comes from the true travails of 'the Volunteer Army' as they made their way across the Russian Steppes in 1917/18. Available from Amazon as a Kindle edition for only £2.97 and also in hard copy (although this is a bit more expensive as copies are printed to order).
My only complaint is that, as I read the book, I was thinking that Darman could easily have made it into another series as the detail rushes by! This is a real page-turner - I finished the 450 pages in three sittings over a weekend.