In 1938 two Finnish brothers savor the last days of youth as war and adulthood cloud the horizon. Their differing visions of maturity—Hannu admires communism while Magnus yearns for the ordered life of a soldier—shatter their relationship and drive them to opposite sides of the looming war between Finland and the Soviet Union.
War spreads northward and the horrors of battle dull Magnus’ military zeal. Hannu sneaks into Leningrad to study communism but is drawn into a dangerous world of espionage with his traitorous Finnish benefactor. He falls in love with Eva, a rebellious student working for an underground movement in a city gripped by fear and paranoia under Stalin’s reign. They risk counter-espionage before Hannu is captured, made an unwilling conscript, and thrust to the Soviet front to fight the Finns. Eva is taken in the night and locked in the dungeons of the NKVD, Stalin’s secret police.
In a bogged-down convoy in the frozen north, Magnus finds his younger brother half-dead with no chance of escape. Now the brothers’ love—for each other, for a woman, for Finland—is the only thing that can save them.
THE ASH OF WINTER’S WORK is a historical fiction novel of 68,000 words set in Finland and Leningrad in the early days of World War II.