Reading Reviews for Behind the Curtain
86 Reviews Found

Review #1, by weasleytwins123 New Beginnings

2nd August 2014:
This fic was incredibly well written and you should be so proud of yourself! I've been searching for something decent to read for a while now and this was certainly it! It was very cleverly written and as a keen historian I loved the setting!

Thanks for the great read, now I'm off to read Their Finest Hour!

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for reading and reviewing!

I really enjoyed writing about this era. Their Finest Hour takes place a few years before this one and covers the WWII era, hope you enjoy it!

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Review #2, by CambAngst Snakes in the Snow

13th May 2014:
Tagging you from Review Tag!

I really like the idea you have here. As Voldemort traveled the world, perfecting his craft and gathering allies, the Soviet Union would have been a really clever place to learn and recruit.

The Soviet Minister was a suitably stoic and ambitious character. I liked the way you framed the scope of his plans and the obvious parallels to the non-magical Soviets' own ambitions in the wake of World War II. The environment you dropped him into was spot-on for the Russian winter and the picture you painted was vivid and crisp.

So this is where Voldemort meets Dolohov and Karkaroff. Interesting. I'm not always a fan of using canon characters to this extent. Sometimes it feels like the author is using canon names just to avoid having to develop and flesh out original characters. In this case, though, I think it works. Both characters have obvious eastern European origins.

Voldemort's traversal of the obstacle course was the one place where I felt like you could have done a little better on the descriptions. In places, like describing the Manticore and the Devil's Snare, I felt like your delivery was a bit dry. More like narrative than action. I think it would have read better if you'd given us brief glimpses of the obstacles to begin with -- a swipe of a paw here, a wicked, clinging vine there -- and then allowed the protagonist of the chapter to figure out the nature of the creature or plant.

Aside from that, I thought your writing flowed really well. This was a smooth, easy read with no typos or grammatical problems that I could spot. Good job!

Author's Response: Thanks for the review!

I'm somewhat fascinated by this era of Voldemort's life. We don't really know his whereabouts, but I think somewhere in Eastern Europe would have suited him perfectly.

Vladimir was definitely intended to be something of a magic version of Stalin, and I'm really glad the winter imagery seemed to work.

There does seem to be some sort of Eastern European connection with the Death Eaters, and years of watching Bond movies have taught me that the best villains tend to come from that part of the world.

I get what you'rs saying about the obstacle course scene. It's one of those things that seems so epic when it plays out in my head, but it can be a little more difficult to convey that onto the page.

Thanks again!

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Review #3, by patronus_charm New Beginnings

7th October 2013:
Wow I'm so glad that I decided to read this story as it was truly fantastic! Also sorry for reviewing bombing you here I just couldn't resist such an amazing story with an excellent final chapter in the way it ties things up.

I have to admit I was only a little too glad to see that Vladimir finally got his comeuppance with being arrested like that. It was nice to see that they were compassionate enough to do that and not kill him straight away and I might have to be tempted into reading Their Finest Hour to find out what happens next. One thing which stood out to me was how he noted he worked with Riddle which must have been so different to how he saw it.

Seeing the early formation of the Death Eaters was so eerie too and Riddle's gradual transformation during this story really was great. The way you tied in Albania to this story was really interesting because I had always wondered whether he felt a pull there for a reason other than the Diadem and it was nice to see your own head canon of it.

I'm glad that Augustus and Anastasia proved me wrong! I hated thinking that they might betray the others at any moment so to see that they've banded together against Riddle was nice. I liked how you showed that even though your loyalty to your country is great the one against evil is even greater and it was such a brilliant and subtle touch.

The final scene was simply great. We got to see more of Moody and Duncan's wonderful team work which I enjoyed throughout the story and then Anastasia weaving her way into Duncan's life to make canon events possible. You just managed to wind up events in a seamless way which is something I look for in a good ending.

This was such a wonderful and unique story and I loved every minute of it! A fantastic read :D


Author's Response: So I wanted this chapter to function as sort of a montage at the end of a movie that answers the remaining questions and ties up the loose ends.

Riddle basically saw Vladimir as a means to an end, and it didn't end well for the latter. He certainly won't be the last to get duped by Riddle.

When Duncan first appeared in my other story, I just tried to give him a typical Scottish name, but a couple reviewers asked if he was Mary MacDonald's dad, so I just decided to go with it. Pretty coincidental that it ended up that way haha.

Thank you very much for the excellent reviews you've left. It was a tremendous help, especially being the first to review the later chapters. Au revoir for now!


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Review #4, by patronus_charm The Confrontation

7th October 2013:
The tension at the beginning of this chapter was brilliant! I was caught up in the confusion and the tension so much that I had to go and re-read the section again so not to miss anything. I thought you handled that really well and painted such a vivid scene of what was happening before me that it made me start yelling out the plan to my laptop which of course didn't respond. :P I thought it fitted excellently with the theme of espionage and how though you plan and plan it sometimes just doesn't work out.

Dumbledore and Karakoff being there showed excellently how past grievances are put away in the future for the sake of diplomatic ties. Another minor point before the main one I really liked all the little mentions of the Trade Fair and Dumbledore's speech it was just brilliant and added such an authentic air.

Duncan had really grown on me in this story so to see what happened at the end of the section was rather heart-breaking. I think the thing which is just so excellent about this story is how the air of fear and the unknown is maintained perfectly throughout showing me exactly what the Cold War was like. Seeing it from this perspective has only heightened my interest in this era!

Wow that ending! (I seem to be saying it a lot in this story!) I never anticipated the twist the Albatross being triggered but I really loved it! Then the way Anastasia just threw Antonin to the wolves by allowing him to drown like that. Or if we're going along Canon lines not drown. Either way I can't wait to read on. :D


Author's Response: Thank you so much for being the first to review the ending! I was really anxious to see how readers would react to it, and I was worried it might be a bit confusing.

Hopefully this tied up the loose ends, and there may be a few surprises in the next chapter...

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Review #5, by patronus_charm Mont Anglais

7th October 2013:
This chapter was simply brilliant in terms of plot development with so much happening! I really liked the split scenes and POV's as it really added to the pace and the suspense of the chapter.

I'm glad we got a greater focus on Anastasia here as you know by now she's my favourite character. Her malicious air of victory in this chapter was great with the way she was rejoicing in the way Marie never recognised her. Then later on with the detail about her wanting to be a skater and playing with their ideas like that was really original and added a lot.

One aspect of the plot which I forgot to comment on before was the one with Quincy. It really is interesting and terrifying to see how much power he can wield and knowing what he discovered could lead to. I dread to even what a wizard version of a Hiroshma scale disaster could do for everything so let's hope this story stays true to the Cold War narrative and no bombs are set off.

The ending was fantastic! A really well-written action scene which is hard to come across. I do wonder what the effect those pills will have on Moody and I hope we find out soon.

Great chapter :D


Author's Response: This is one of the chapters I was most worried about, so thanks a lot for being the first to review it!

I wanted to go a bit deeper into Anastasia's character here, and who knows, maybe there was more truth than we realize in that backstory.

As for the part with Quincy, I was pretty much trying to come up with a magic equivalent of nuclear weapons to have that kind of tension in the background (and also to make the James Bond reference of having a Q name)

Thanks again!

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Review #6, by patronus_charm The Double Agent

7th October 2013:
This chapter and the previous were possible my favourites!

I almost wanted the whole Anastasia/Natalie drama to be true and couldn't help but fall for it a little at first. I think it's the whole idea of them repenting and going to the good side like Snape did is a little to addictive. One thing I have to admire is how you chose a female to have such a prominent role. It saddens me to see this happens so rarely in action stories but the fact she's the instigator of a lot of the trouble in this story is wonderful and admire the change you made.

I do have to wonder what will happen to her though. As she's not mentioned in the HP books it does make me wonder whether she'll be killed or not or if she simply slips away. Hmm, either seem likely at the moment.

I have to pity Duncan and Moody though, they just simply don't know. With having read the rest of the chapter, I can only fear the worst for Duncan because I assume that Anastasia will get to the bottom of his secret. Excellent
suspense though!

Call me paranoid, but ever since I heard that Augustus was a Slytherin I have a feeling he might be a turn coat. Yes, you may just be setting an example by making him a good one, but I just can't know. I'll just have to watch and wait.

An amazing chapter :D


Author's Response: So I hope it didn't get too confusing there with the whole double/double agent thing!

Oh yes, that's always the downside of non-canon OC's, although the good thing here is that we still have 40 years to go until the canon era, so there is some room to work with.

As for Augustus, we'll just see haha

Thanks again for the great reviews!

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Review #7, by patronus_charm The Breach

7th October 2013:
I really loved this chapter!

Anastasia is the best in characterisation terms, in my opinion. She does contains something which draws me and wants to watch her and what she does because I never really predict it. Though she shares some similarities with Bellatrix by both possessing what I just mentioned, there seems to be something more humane about her as I picked up with her nerves when she realised the Brits had been there. It will be interesting to watch her later on.

Duncan and Moody are an unexpectedly great double act. They both bounce off one another and make for great action scenes!

Ah, this book is like a culmination of all the best Bond films! I think the thing which did it for me was the secret calling thing when it led to something else because that just showed how effective espionage could be in its simplest form. You're making me want to write my own spy fic now!

Riddle's really intriguing me here. He's evil but not as he usually is depicted. I guess it's because he hasn't yet assumed the role of the leader yet despite the earlier Death Eaters circling around him. He's another one I can't wait to see transform!


Author's Response: The first few chapters I kind of needed to set some things up, and now the action is finally starting, so it should be fun from here on out!

I'm really glad you like Anastasia, I was trying to make her into a "bad guy" but also somebody you could root for in a way.

This period in Riddle's life is pretty unknown in canon, so I'm pretty interested in his origin story.

Thanks again for the review!

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Review #8, by patronus_charm Plans in Motion

7th October 2013:
Just a short review here!

I really loved the power hierarchy here. It seems as if Lenin could have been Grindelwald and Stalin could have been Riddle with each one usurping the one who started the whole chain of evilness off.

Your characterisation here was brilliant! Each one is so unique and the blend of all things magic and muggle is truly brilliant. At the moment young Moody seems to be a favourite with the way he's willing to work without pay as that reminds me a lot of he's older self and dedication to his work. I never expected Dumbledore to pop either so that was a happy surprise!

Ooh one last thing. The way you constantly Moscow to the Sovit-ness, Scots to the drinking (;)) and the English to things like MI5 and Oxford is a great play of stereotypes it sort of grounds the reader by providing them with something familiar despite the changing air.

Awesome chapter!


Author's Response: Hey again! The dark wizards really do seem to have a lot of parallels with real life dictators, and I was trying to portray that a bit.

I really enjoyed writing Moody's character; we know so little about his backstory so there's a lot of room to work with.

Thanks again for another great review!

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Review #9, by patronus_charm Snakes in the Snow

7th October 2013:
I keep on seeing this story pop up at TGS so I couldnít resist coming along! With my mum seeing the Berlin Wall fall (luckily, she was on the west side!) and loving this era, I canít wait to see where this story goes!

Your description really stood out to me in this chapter with it being so poignant and adding so much to the scene rather than taking away from it. It was a perfect addition to the action scenes which I have to see Iím glad that you included in the first chapter as itís nice to start with a bang.

The mixture of all things magical with the surroundings of Russia was brilliant because I know how horrible the winters are there! It really added a sense of uniqueness and individuality and just general care for all those extra details so kudos for including that.

The mentions towards Grindelwald and Dolohov were brilliant and I never connected them to the Cold War before, but now it makes sense. Grindelwald could have been from east Germany for all we know and Dolohov could have been from Eastern Europe with that name so, again, that care for details meant it was a brilliant addition to the story.

Iím sorry this review is rather brief I just canít wait to read on!


Author's Response: Thanks a lot for reading. I'm really interested in this era, and I bet your mom must have some amazing stories!

I've never been to Russia, but I can only imagine how harsh the winters actually are, and I thought that kind of went with the overall tone of the story.

In many ways the HP world seems to mirror our world, and the Death Eaters seem to have an Eastern European connection with the likes of Dolohov and Karkaroff, so I wanted to take that and run with it.

Thanks a lot for the review!!

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Review #10, by ChaosWednesday New Discoveries

23rd August 2013:

Ah, it's been a while, but I'm happy for the chance to come back to this lovely experiment in wizard history!

You know, I'm beginning to enjoy the heavy info-sections, although I do recall finding them slightly difficult to get through in the last chapter. You're setting up a complicated web of alliances, with many characters and relationships as well as political realities. These things do need careful explaining. Besides, I found that you injected the explanatory paragraphs quite elegantly in-between the action.

Anastasia's mission to kidnap the Polish Minister was the most interesting bit for me. While you maintain a similar geopolitical power structure in the wizard world as we know from the muggle one, the ideologies appear quite different. It's almost as if the wizards never went through any revolution at all and were untouched by the hopes of communism? The fact that the Soviet Ministry of Magic does not live by at least a narrative of equality (also between wizards and muggles) is quite interesting. It leaves me curious to discover how you envision the relationship between the two worlds and what sorts of themes communist thought and history will be connected to in this story. Intriguing!

I thought it was cute that Anastasia grew up in an orphanage (makes me think of the childrens' animated film of the same name, if you know it?). She's not a lost princess, is she? Oh, before I forget! I really don't mean to nit-pick, but I did notice this sentence: "here was much worth remembering about growing up in an impoverished Moscow orphanage during the Great Depression and the war that followed." Being communist, the USSR wasn't actually hit by the Great Depression. In fact, that was it's most prosperous time, with many Western experts moving to the USSR in the hopes of finding work and thus inadvertently helping the industrialisation process. Before the war, in the late 20s and early 30s the USSR actually saw a great increase in social welfare and general living standards. Healthcare was more widely available and there were many new programs for the socialization of youth. I'm not sure if you meant something else and I misunderstood, but it seemed like you bunched the war and the time before it into one, which was a bit disorienting. I just thought I'd point it out, since you seem to be interesting in this historical period and in representing it accurately.

I still think the characterization is great and I'm enjoying your ability to present the reader with so many different locations and characters without losing a sense of connectedness. I'm liking this and I hope I can come back soon for more.

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for such an in-depth review!

You raise some very interesting points about the ideologies involved; I didn't want to get too bogged down talking about political theories, so I just went with the basic wizard idea that the bad guys are the ones that hate muggles, which is admittedly a bit simplistic. However, I did want to maintain the same type of atmosphere and locations that would have shown up in cold war stories.

That's another itneresting point about the USSR in the 30's, and I admit that I kind of assumed the Great Depression was a global phenomenon. In my head canon, Anastasia comes from a Ukrainian background, and I know they had a really bad time in the 30's with the famines and everything.

Thanks for reviewing!

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Review #11, by Violet Gryfindor Powerful Secrets

24th March 2013:
What an exciting chapter! There are many twists and turns to this story, and you continue to keep me guessing. I really like how you develop the plot in this chapter, showing how both Riddle and Anastasia go through with their plans, though I'm still wondering whether Anastasia is being over-confident. She's going into enemy territory, and I can't remember if she has a back-up plan in case things go wrong. And if something does go wrong, will her people be willing to extract her? It can't be long until something happens.

The scene with Riddle reminds me of that from DH when Voldemort seeks out Grindewald, and you've drawn the comparison in a wonderful way. Riddle is perfect in that scene, and I also really liked the connection to Rasputin. It makes so much sense that Rasputin would have been a precursor to Riddle, and now that I think of it, I'm shocked that no one else has written about that yet. And the detail of the Faberge egg was brilliant!

In regard to this scene, I have a question about the fact that Riddle is only learning about horcruxes at this point. From the books, I gathered that he made his first horcrux at Myrtle's death then a second with the death of his father. So are you working within an AU situation or is he merely seeking additional information about horcruxes - perhaps the ideal number to prolong one's life the longest?

I'm sorry for taking so long to get to reading this chapter. It's a great story to read and I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next! :D

Author's Response: Thanks for yet another awesome review, and sorry for taking so long to respond.

Anastasia pretty much made this plan up on the fly since she was in a pretty bad position when the machine got stolen on her watch, so she is pretty much making things up as she goes along right now. It appears to be working out better than she could gave imagined, but we shall see what happens next.

I'm so glad you like the Riddle scene, I was trying pretty hard to capture that creepy Riddle feel. And I think Rasputin kind of fits perfectly into HP lore, especially with all the stories of how they couldn't kill him.

I have to admit that you brought up some good points about canon that I had overlooked, namely the timing of Riddle's first few horcruxes. I'm going to either play around with that scene a little more, or perhaps just bend a little in the AU direction when it comes to that.

Thanks again, updates are coming soon once I'm done with finals!

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Review #12, by oldnumberseven  Snakes in the Snow

20th March 2013:
dear god, this story is amazing! i love cold war spy stories and i'm also a political science major so i loved your detail about grindelwald and his strategies to conquer europe. i really can't wait to see where this goes - your writing is superb!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I was also a poly/sci major, and it facsinates me to imagine how those kinds of things would work in the HP world. Hope you enjoy the rest of it, updates are coming soon!

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Review #13, by Arithmancy_Wiz New Discoveries

28th January 2013:
Hello again. Back to sneak in another quick review before the end of the month.

Another really great chapter. In fact, I thought this one was even better than the first. Right away, I liked Archibald. You really did a wonderful job of interlacing his back story in with his present actions. And I love the idea that he still has the family Slytherin traits, even if he lacks the magical abilities. The idea of working with the paranormal division is really interesting too. I love the idea of these sorts of covert fringe divisions being used during times of (or leading up to) war.

I'm not usually drawn to stories that change POV a lot, but I thought it really worked well here and imagine (even though I don't read it myself so I'm not 100% sure) it's probably a perfect fit for the genre. It gives the reader glimpses of all the moving parts and allows them to try and guess how they'll all fit together in the end.

I thought you did a great job humanizing Anastasia here. Sure, she's working for the enemy, but you can feel compassion for her given her background and her general desire just to make it out of all this alive. Duncan too really leaps off the page as a new character. I wasn't sure where the scene was headed at first, but it was great to see how it all tied back in with Archibald's brother at the end. And the Rotten Haggis?! As if haggis isn't already kind of gross.

The only thing I noticed CC-wise were a few rather lengthy sentences towards the start of the chapter. The one that starts, "He quickly rounded..." and "Judging by his stature..." in particular. They aren't run-ons really, but it is a lot of description to swallow in one gulp. Just perhaps something to look out for.

Overall, I'm defiantly intrigued. I'll try and drop by for one more chapter before the 1st if I can.

Author's Response: Thanks for another great review, and my apologies for taking far too long to respond to it.

The squibs we see in the books like Filch always seem to end up taking dead end jobs in the magical world, but I can imagine that with at least some elements of magical abilities, they could have major advantages if they chose to pursue a muggle career, and that's something I'd love to see explored some more.

Tom Clancy's books are what first got me into this genre, and he uses the switching POV technique a lot, which is probably where I learned it from. As you mentioned, it seems to be the easiest way to tie the different storylines together.

I was hoping to give Anastasia a little more depth here than the femme fatale stereotype that she probably came off as last chapter, and Duncan is a character from my other story that I wanted to find a way to use again, so hopefully he fits in well.

Thanks again for a great swap!

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Review #14, by Arithmancy_Wiz Snakes in the Snow

21st January 2013:
Hi, Cassius. I'm here for the TGS review swap!

I knew from having seen more than a few chapters of Their Finest Hour pass through the queue that you have a knack for historical fiction, so I'm really glad I'm gitting the chance to read this story. I haven't read a lot of cold-era fiction myself, so I can't really comment on the genre as a whole, but it already seems like it's to be a great backdrop for this story.

You really hit the ground running with this chapter. Vladimir is just a rich character already. His personality seems a perfect match for the harsh wintery landscape around him; cold and unforgiving. But it was also great to see some familiar names here as well. It will be interesting to see how you weave it all in with canon. Since we don't know a lot of details about this era in the HP world, it seems like you'll have lots of room to play.

There were some really great details throughout. I really liked the line:

"...the expression in her light blue eyes was colder then the Russian winter itself."

And the mention of Rasputin was fantastic. He was already known as a mystic in his time, so not such a far leap from there to being a wizard. Someone needs to write that fanfic, if it doesn't already exist.

The only CC I can think to offer here is that there seemed to be a lot of backstory, especially right at the beginning, but it certainly picked up steam once they reached the compound.

I'll definitely be back to read a few more chapters before the swap is over, so until then... :)

Author's Response: Hey thanks for swapping!

This era is one of my favorite genres for both books and movies, so I kind of always wanted to try my hand at it. And it's also a pretty unknown era in HP canon, so it was a lot of fun to imagine what it may have been like.

Vladimir is kind of a transitional villain for the era between Grindelwald and Voldemort (kind of like Count Dooku I guess if you're familiar with star wars) We don't really know what was going on in canon then, and while there may not have been something on the level of Voldy, I can't imagine things were totally quiet.

Doesn't it totally make sense that Rasputin would have been a wizard? And that would be a really interesting story to write...

I kind of struggles with how much backstory to include so that the reader would understand the characters and setting, but without making it seem like a history book, so hopefully it turns out ok in the long run.

Thanks again!

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Review #15, by ChaosWednesday Snakes in the Snow

10th January 2013:

Historical wizard-muggle relations always appeared slightly fuzzy to me in the books, so I was intrigued to stumble accross a fic that attempts to throw some light onto the matter! In Hogwarts era, wizards are shown as not even capable of figuring out Muggle clothing, let alone aiming to cooperate on mutually expanding their empires parallel to the Muggle ones. But I always thought that was just some sort of wizard pop-culture delusion and that wizards had always been involved in Muggle politics as well as highly influenced by muggle thought and culture (key word: christmas). I must say, though, I never imagined the relationship would be quite as tight as you seem to imply. So, if I got it right, if we were to draw a wizarding political map and a muggle one of the 50-60s, then they would basically be the same? It's cute how you even have the wizards wear the Soviet red star...No wonder wizards hate the Muggles so much: they are the more powerful ones and yet can't seem to come up with anything of their own ;)

You got me quite inspired, so I'm going to start picking away at tiny details now, I hope you don't find it too annoying!

This got me slightly confused: "but Vladimir at least knew that the mysterious young man was strongly opposed to both the Muggle born and Albus Dumbledore, which was good enough for him." So if the wizarding world evolves culturally and politically hand in hand with the Muggle one, then what is their opinion on Soviet ideology? Germany was THE ENEMY ever since Hitler betrayed consequently the wizards must have picked up on some of the ideological duality here...If the Germans are wizard-supremicists, then shouldn't the Soviets be aiming at a completely opposing self-definition? What would wizard communism look like? Wouldn't it be interesting to introduce a different wizarding political model? Not the rainbow and butterfly Dumbledore model where Muggles and wizards live in peace, but also not the tyranical Grindelwald model where all Muggles must be EXTERMINATED. One reason why the Cold War era will never stop being fascinating is that it was a time of many different ideologies - multipolarity, hope for a brighter new future, belief in the power of civilization over nature, conflicts of religion versus humanitarianism, communitarianism vs individualism... oh and don't forget SPACE. So, before I use up all the characters in this review by gushing about political theory, what I want to say is this: Maybe it's not too late to bring in some more political complexity to the wizarding world, since the Muggle world of the time has more than enough inspiration to offer in that regard. For now, I got the impression that RAWR I'M EVIL I WANT POWER is the main driving force of all wizards...:P
Oh and if you care about such details, then Antonin is not a Russian first name (would work as a surname). Try Anton or Anatoli ;)

Now to the actual story! I liked how you brought in Karkaroff (although I never thought he was Russian and I'm not sure where that concensus comes from...) and also Avery et al. I'm curious to see what the future Death Eaters will learn from the Soviets! I also was VERY happy with the presense of magic in the story. Most non-Hogwarts fics forget all about magic for some reason and I don't know about other people but I like magic :D

In terms of flow, I thought the exposition at the beginning of each character introduction was a BIT too much. Especially Vladimir...before we even saw him make a single charactersitic gesture we already had so much taken for granted information about him. Maybe switch the info bit with the description of his appearance so that the info comes second? Also, I had to laugh at him stroking his beard and being impressed all the time, haha. I imagined him with a tsar crown perched on the tip of his head and just nodding silently while an arrogant sevant at his side squeaked "Master is impressed"...if you want to add some more complexity to his first appearance, maybe make his reactions a bit less straightforward?

That being said, the obstacle course descriptions were perfect. It's not easy to write action sequences, but you managed very well! Not too many details, not too fast. Enough perspective through the reaction of the audience. It was exciting and clearly relevant to the plot, which is all one can ask from an action sequence :)

Also,I just loved this: "Her long blonde hair flowed freely over her shoulders, and her crimson lips added a pleasant touch of color against her pale complexion and the snowy white backdrop. Though she possessed an incomparable beauty, the expression in her light blue eyes was colder then the Russian winter itself." So simple, yet vivid. It also reminded me of the work of a popular Russian-Estonian photographer who has made several self-portraits in the snow with bright lipstick. The result IS visually very striking!

Well, I think I'll stop here because I really didn't intend to write you the War and Peace of reviews...I hope you will find something useful among my ramblings and be sure that I will be back to read some more of this :D

Author's Response: Thank you so much for such a thorough review, and my apologies for taking so long to respond to it.

What really planted the seed for the ideas for this story was the brief bits we get from canon about Dumbledore's past with Grindelwald. All we get to see is that Dumbledore defeated a seemingly Germanic wizard in 1945, obviously the same year that Germany was defeated in WWII. I was very intrigued by the obvious parallels, and then even more so after the seen in Book 6 in which Fudge meets with the Prime Minister, opening the door to the political relations between the two worlds, something I would like to see a lot more of in fanfiction. Anyway, the gap in canon surrounding Dumbledore's pariticipation in WWII was the plot bunny for my first fanfic story, to which this one is somehting of a follow up, existing in the same universe, but standing on its own as a story.

Also, Cold War spy stories are one of my favorite literary/film genres, and given how its pretty much an unknown era in HP canon, I saw the opportunity to try to adapt this type of story to the magical world. It's very interesting to think about if the political boundaries are the same in both worlds, but since we don't know for sure, I just kept it more or less the same as the muggle world. Since Grindelwald was basically the wizard version of Hitler, that would make Vladimir the wizard Stalin. It would be fascinating to explore the relevant political theories and how Vladimir's ideology correlates with communism, but alas its a plot driven story and I didn't want to get too bogged down, so it just focuses on the superficial things that all dictators seem to have in common, namely the quest for more power.

It's kind of implied in canon that Tom Riddle was probably in Eastern Europe at this time, so I'm taking that and running with it, as well as including some of the early Death Eaters. The Death Eaters seem to have an Eastern connection with the likes of Dolohov and Karakaroff as well. That's interesting that Antonin isn't actually a Russian name, but since he's a canon character, I don't think I can change it.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the image of Anastasia, that's the type of initial impression I was hoping she would make, and well, you'll find out a lot more about her if you keep reading.

Thank you so much for such a long and helpful review, I can assure you it is much appreciated. I hope you come back for more sometime!

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Review #16, by Violet Gryfindor The Double Agent

21st December 2012:
Another great chapter! It was, of course, exciting to see more from Anastasia, how she works undercover as well as in her more usual environment. She's so cool and controlled, yet you carefully reveal her emotional reactions, even if she does not outwardly show them. Both Moody and Riddle seem to evoke the same guardedness from her, and it's interesting to see the similarities between the two wizards - both fanatical about their beliefs, not to mention very driven, deliberate and calculating yet wild in their tempers. Seeing them from Anastasia's point of view provides a fresh perspective that I'm probably getting too excited about. :P

The scene with Augustus was equally of interest, and perhaps it's just because "Skyfall" is still fresh in my mind, but I could picture the workings of the Auror Department as being similar in nature to those of MI-6. You even had a Q! The airplane is amazing - definitely one of the most fascinating magical objects I've seen in fanfiction. It's extraordinarily powerful, which makes it perfect for the Cold War, basically the equivalent of a nuclear bomb, except that it doesn't affect Muggles. It's a pleasing change from the brush-off that Muggles often receive from wizards, both in the series and in fanfiction - I suppose it's easy to forget that the wars were fought to protect Muggles. You're including very important aspects of the history of both worlds in this chapter, and it's great to see that kind of attention to detail.

As always, it's a pleasure to read more of your work. Your writing style is engaging and also polished. Hopefully you have more of this story in the works - I look forward to seeing what happens next! :)

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for the review, and now I'm finally getting around to responding!

It's been very fun for me to have some creative license with Moody and Riddle since we know very little about this stage of their lives in canon. Between the two of them and Anastasia, I'm trying to show three people with similar personalities and abilities and explore the paths they end up taking.

I have to admit that the scene with Augustus was very much Bond inspired, and it seemed almost obligatory to include a nod to Q. I was definitely going for the nuclear weapons analogy with the plane, I needed something to give that added dimension of danger.

Thank you so much for the support you've given this story so far. It's certainly my most ambitious literary undertaking so far, and it means a lot to get feedback on it, especially from someone of your level. The next chapter is currently in the queue, so it should be up pretty soon. I'm planning to make the story 16-17 chapters, and hoping to finish writing in the next month or so, so we'll see how it goes!

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Review #17, by Violet Gryfindor The Station

8th September 2012:
Wow! There was far more to this chapter than I thought at the beginning - you covered a lot of ground and did so with great success. None of the parts felt too short or rushed, yet you were able to give screen-time to each of the main characters in turn without losing track of either the pacing or the suspense.

I was particularly pleased to see more from Tom Riddle. It was interesting how easily spooked he was by the sound in the woods - it reminded me somewhat of Moody, and it makes me wonder who or what he expected to find following him. I hope to see more from him in future chapters - I keep feeling that there has to be more to what he's doing, and that somehow his personal mission will collide with his official one.

The action scene on the platform was fantastic, not that I'm surprised - you have a great talent for describing those scenes so clearly and keeping the readers on their toes the whole way. That moment when Duncan used the plank of wood was perfect! Especially with Moody's reaction that he could see the benefits of working with a Muggle - Duncan has this down-to-earth common sense while Moody works more in an intuitive gut feeling sort of way, so they work well together, even if it is, in Moody's words, an unconventional partnership (that's why it works, though, because it's unusual). I also liked how you portrayed Karkaroff and remembered to include his ranting and complaining - it was interesting to see him fighting against Moody because it connected directly with GoF. It's one of those kind of details that makes this story seem like it's part of canon - it has a solid authenticity to it.

This chapter could use a quick read through to check for things like the missing hyphen in "follow-up" and wordier phrasings like "and fumbled to recover his wand, which had landed several feet away from his when he fell" (the "from hi[m] when he fell" isn't necessary). But overall, this chapter is another great addition to the story. I'm excited to see what happens next with Anastasia infiltrating their mission and what other sort of twists you have up your sleeve. :)

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for such a detailed review!

I'm trying to maintain a tight balance with Riddle where he ostensibly is doing his official duties, but he clearly has his own agenda that will take center stage, so I'm hoping that that will be able to take form a little more in the coming chapters.

It was really relieving to hear that the platform scene worked for you. Most of this story is a lot of sneaking around with some short bursts of action, so I wanted to make sure those scenes came across with some excitement.

It took me a while to figure out the details, but I finally have the rest of the story outlined, so now I just have to sit down and actually write it. Hopefully it should be up soon!

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Review #18, by ruby_slippers The Station

22nd August 2012:
I just started reading this the other day and i love it! Its so original and interesting! Can't wait to see where you take it :)

Author's Response: Thanks a lot, glad you enjoyed it!

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Review #19, by Pixileanin Plans in Motion

26th July 2012:
I hadn't ever occurred to me that Duncan had never been to the British Ministry before. You wrote it from such a fresh perspective that I almost didn't realized that's where they were going. Ahh, and the mission is delightfully mundane! That should be right up Duncan's alley. And I can't wait to see what kind of crazy he pulls to get through that.

It's great to see characters from Durmstrag socializing with each other. We know they did, but there are so very few stories that deal with that. I am quite intrigued with this aspect of your plot.

"Riddle's voice rose and he flapped his arms dramatically as his speech moved closer to a crescendo..." This was quite a picture, and if I imagined it correctly, very Russian too... or kind of like an overconfident, arrogant duck, if Riddle had been rotund and not as fit as you say he was. :) )

Interesting chapter!

Author's Response: Yeah most of Duncan's magical experience was abroad, so it was a new experince for him to see the Ministry, but after everything he's seen, he doesn't really get surprised anymore.

One of my goals in this story was to outline some of the origins of the death eaters. They seem to have a Russian connection with the liks of Dolohov and Karkaroff, so I like to expand on that a bit.

And I pretty much pictured Riddle as your standard dictator here

Thanks for the review!

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Review #20, by Pixileanin New Discoveries

18th July 2012:
I love that you've pulled a squib into this story. It seems like the perfect opportunity to use someone who has knowledge of the Wizarding World, but who are also more apt to live among the Muggles. You did a great job making me feel the excitement with him when he did his job. He definitely has the right occupation.

I feel a connection coming on. Having Anastasia growing up in an orphanage and then attending Durmstrang, the home she never had before, will definitely make her sympathetic to others in her same situation. I will pretend to know where this is going, and then I will be delightfully surprised when you prove me wrong.

As a musician, I would have written "dramatic crescendo of the piece" as "dramatic climax of the piece", but we all know what you meant, so it doesn't matter much. I liked her conflicted feelings about her mission, and what is compelling her to move forward with it.

And I really enjoyed seeing you bring in some familiar faces from your other fic! You have a great setup and a clear introduction to the key players and I will have to return to see what happens next!

Author's Response: Hey again!

So I needed some linakage to the Muggle world to allow the information to leak, and that seemed to be the perfect way.

You are correct in observing that Anastasia's background is meant to mirror that of a certain other character, but that's all I'll say about that for now of course.

And I just had to bring Duncan back, but there's a lot more to his story that remains to be told.

Thanks a lot for the review!

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Review #21, by Pixileanin Snakes in the Snow

18th July 2012:
Hi there!

I have been meaning to get to this story for the longest time, and there is no time like the present, so I cannot wait to see what you have done with this.

First off, I think it is really interesting that you managed to make this chapter coincide with a challenge. For some reason, all of my stories are connected with one or more challenges, so I understand that sometimes it is a great place to find inspiration.

You really made me cold in that first paragraph. I was completely sucked into the atmosphere. I was even thinking to myself, "Get inside, you crazy man! Why are you standing out in the elements??" But I guess that men who crave power are less than concerned about their health and more about making general impressions. Komissarov definitely made an impression on me! But get a better coat, man!

So he thinks he can do better than Grindelwald? We will see.

Uh oh, potions! Since you are setting this in the Cold War era, I imagine there will be a lot of espionage, including accidental poisonings? HmmÖ

"He had a very high level of fitness."

That was an understatement. I chortled at the "hair remained perfectly in place" line. I loved that you left the revelation of the Englishman's identity until the very end of this chapter. This should be a very interesting read!

Author's Response: Hey, so glad to hear you wanted to read it, hope you're not disapointed!

I tried really hard to capture he setting, so if you felt cold then I guess it worked!

This is one of my favorite eras for fiction in general, and it's a pretty unknown era when it comes to HP canon, so I think I'm going to have some fun with this. Thanks a lot for reviewing!

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Review #22, by maskedmuggle Snakes in the Snow

14th July 2012:
Hey! Review tag :)

This was really interesting! I've never really read any Cold War stories, and I hardly ever touch historical fiction, but it's actually a genre I've enjoyed when I've read it. To see Riddle and his group in such an unusual setting, and within a muggle context as well was definitely intriguing. I started to suspect that the Englishman was Voldemort when you mentioned there was like a leader to the group. I'm surprised he hasn't changed his name yet, but it's 1952 which seems like they'd all be very, very young. It's so difficult to imagine Riddle running (everything always seems to be beneath him), but the obstacle course was a neat idea. I also liked your other characters: Vladimir, Anastasia, Sergei, and it was a surprise to see Karkaroff and Dolohov there too.

I thought the writing throughout this was great - it was definitely very descriptive and allowed me to imagine everything really well. It'll be interesting to see where you take this! It's a great first chapter that really conveys so much potential for the rest of the story. I enjoyed this! :)

- MM

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for the review!

This is one of my favorite eras to read fiction about, and its such an unknown era when it comes to HP canon that I really enjoyed the amount of flexibility it allowed.

Riddle would be in his early 20's at this point. I'm not exactly sure when he changed his name, but I think his plans would be just starting out at this point in his life. I think we can infer from canon that he was probably somewhere in eastern europe for a while, and there also seems to be a Russian connection to the death waters with people like Dolohov and Karkaroff, so I'm just taking that and running with it.

Thanks again!

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Review #23, by Violet Gryfindor Plots and Counter Plots

30th June 2012:
Is it terrible that, when Vladimir first appeared in this scene, I expected him to be holding a white cat whose head he was idly scratching? Maybe it was the sinister grin that brought this image to mind - that, coupled with your vivid descriptions of the Russian Ministry, made me think of a cross between "Doctor Zhivago" and Connery-era James Bond. I admire the amount of detail you put into those descriptions - the little things like the obscure poem for a password, the knights and their lances, the entrance in the clock tower, all of that was perfect for the Potterverse. Familiar in the similarities to the British magical world, but also very unique, not to mention very Russian in feel. Excellent work with that part of the chapter!

Not to say that the rest of the chapter wasn't as good - far from that. Although it's all about building to a climatic point - the rescue which, like Moody, I fear will be a trap - the skillful twists that leave the reader hanging at every turn. Once again, I have to compliment your plotting. There doesn't always need to be bristling action to create tension, and this story proves that - it's an excellent spy thriller.

Yet, at the same time, it is the characters that drive the story. Each of them is solidly characterized (Duncan shows well in this chapter - he didn't need to say very much for me to get a better grasp of his personality - his actions said far more. He seems like one of those subtle people, quiet until the need comes for him to lead the battle), and their strong personalities make them seem in control of the action, choosing their own fates, whatever the cost.

You've made another fantastic addition to this story, and once again, I'm eager to find out what happens next! Happy writing!

Author's Response: That's actually pretty much the same image I had in my head as well, but I thought adding the cat in would just be overkill. I was trying to take some things we see in the HP world and adapt them for Russian culture, and it's great to hear that that seems to be working.

I do think Duncan is starting to come along a bit in this chapter, and he's really come a long way from the 18 year old prankster he was in my other story. The next chapter has been taking me a while, but it's almost done and should have som major developments.

Thank you so much for taking the tim to reviw all these chapters, it's been vry helpful and much appreciated.

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Review #24, by peppersweet New Discoveries

19th June 2012:
finally got around to catching up on this!

I've been reading fluff and humour for so long that I forget how wide a scope fanfiction really has. This reminds me of Fleming and Le Carre a bit, and I love how you're putting the magical world in a historical context. I've always wanted to write a historical fic but chickened out at the last minute ;A; this is stupendous, though, it really is. it's a fantastically fresh read and...on to the rest of the story I go!

Author's Response: Thanks a lot for the review! And if you're thinking about writing a historical fic, then I hav to say that you should go for it!

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Review #25, by WitnesstoitAll New Discoveries

23rd May 2012:
Oh my, it's been so long since I've read the first chapter of this story, but this flowed as though it was just yesterday. You really do write historical fiction quite well. I've always been a fan of the genre, and don't see much of it in the HPFF world. I think one of the things that really sells this story is the multitude of characters that you include -- it makes the world you've created feel real and full of people. You also deal with description very well. I myself tend towards flowery, over-done descriptions of the setting, so I'm always really impressed when I read a story that can paint the background in my mind in such a succinct way.

I really liked that you chose to step back from the training center and Riddle in this chapter to develop Anastasia and set the tone of the world at large in this chapter. I like the Wellington family. Archibald is awesome!! I really respect him from breaking the societal role of squib and doing what he did -- quite admirable. I am way more invested in Anastasia's character than I expected to be. The way you described her in the first chapter, I expected a rather bold, cold agent that happens to be female. But here, the depth you provided her with, the sense of duty, all set to the sound of a symphony playing out from her piano was a very pleasant surprise. I look forward to seeing the role she'll play in this story.

Oooh. The plot thickens. I've very interested to see what was in Archibald's message and what he told Augustus and what Duncan has to do with it all.

Fabulous chapter!!

Author's Response: I love historical fiction too! And I like how we don't really know much about this era in canon, so it gives you a lot of leeway.

I'm glad you enjoyed the characters, I really like the flexibility that OC's give you, and they might have some interestng twists in store.

Thanks a lot for the review!


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