The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener Grotta

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. LeGuin, The Winter Boy is masterful storytelling that explores important political, wrapped up in masterful storytelling.

a Bookwatch Reviewer's Choice
Nominated for the prestigious Locus Award and
on Locus Magazine's annual Recommended Reads List

The Valley of the Alleshi is the center of all civilization, the core and foundation of centuries of peace. A cloistered society of widows, the Alleshi, has forged a peace by mentoring young men who will one day become the leaders of the land. Each boy is paired with a single Allesha for a season of intimacy and learning, using time-honored methods that include storytelling, reason and sex. However, unknown to all but a hidden few, the peace is fracturing from pressures within and beyond, hacking at the very essence of their civilization.

Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl is a “problem boy,” who fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers a web of conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threaten to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.

“...a great book... in the 'must read' category for anyone who enjoys a cultural fantasy...” ~ Charline Ratcliff, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"An amazing, tour-de-force literary work completely unlike anything I have ever read.... People will be studying and talking about The Winter Boy for years to come." ~ Wendy Delmater Thies, Abyss and Apex Magazine

"...with the kind of mysterious tone and a sense of a complete world apart that is the hallmark of the best.... The Winter Boy... exists in... a mythic, spiritual realm. Even ordinary lines resonate with this sense of the unseen." – Peter Damien Bellis, author of The Conjure Man

“...a deeply thoughtful book… very engrossing” ~ Kelly Jensen, SFCrowsnest

"...intriguing, thought provoking and highly enthralling." ~ Lynn Worton, Zavive

“…a very rewarding read that raises your self-awareness in a way that only great books do… A literary triumph” ~ Dr. Babus Ahmed, Ajoobatcats