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! :DAuthor'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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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.
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 Stalin...so 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 :DAuthor'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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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! Report Review
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? Hmm…
"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!
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! :)
- MMAuthor'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! Report Review
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. Report Review
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! Report Review
I actually noticed this chapter some time ago, right before I went on vacation, and well, as you can see, it took until now for me to review it. I'm a bit surprised no one has jumped in before me to leave a review. :( On the other hand, I get to be the first! :P
I KNEW something fishy was going to happen! Oh, that's a trap for sure! Because I like Moody and Duncan, I obviously don't want them to fall victim to it, but from a reader's standpoint, I can't wait to see what happens next. It would be a boring story if they spent more time in that shed. They're probably going stir crazy in there, so of course they are itching for some excitement.
As usual, your portrayal of Anastasia is chilling. Everything about her just makes me want to hide and stay very still so she doesn't notice me. You're handling Moody very well too. There are enough little details to remind us of how paranoid he can be without irritatingly banging us over the head with it.
This seemed like another "setting up" chapter, so to speak, in order to advance the plot toward another action-packed chapter coming up soon. It was a quick read, but it left me wanting more.Author's Response: Thanks for being the first reviewer for this chapter!
And I think we can all agree that it's a pretty obvious trap, but of course things needed to get a bit more intersting!
So it's been taking me forever to finish the next chapter, but I think it should be up soon! Thanks again! Report Review
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.
MelissaAuthor'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!
-James Report Review
Hi James! I thought I'd pop in and read another chapter of this lovely little story.
I see Moody and Nicholas are bonding (though poor Duncan apparently has to suffer a bit for it), which is lovely. I loved the brief little "conversation" between Duncan and Moody, and I'm certainly not surprised that Moody isn't exactly "one for leisure". Duncan's reaction with the chocolate was priceless. I also love how Duncan is becoming more and more accustomed to magic, and as a result, is accepting it more easily as he goes along. I suppose you would sort of have to with Moody.
It was neat to catch glimpses of Avery and Mulciber here, and to see Moody and Duncan so easily take their forms and get business done. I love the matter-of-fact feel of this story, as exemplified by Moody's final comment. I'm definitely still interested in the story, and I'm looking forward to seeing Moody and friends unravel the secrets of the Kwikcode machine and plan their next moves. (I'm also, of course, looking forward to the moment when Tom's people figure out what has happened.) This story is just like a classic spy movie, with action that is very easy to follow and the extra touch of magic that adds another lovely dimension.
Very nice! :)
Recenseo 2012Author's Response: Thanks a lot Amanda, it's always great to get unexpected reviews like this!
It's easy to picture young Moody being really intense like this, and Duncan had to respond pretty much the only way he knew how.
I'm glad you're interested in the story, and there's going to be some twists in the next couple chapters!
-James Report Review
I didn't even think about the chocolate, how foolish of me. I figured Anastasia would notice quickly that something was wrong because she takes her work very seriously.
I don't know how she'll figure out it was Duncan and Moody but I know she will and I don't know how she'll find them either but the longer they stay where they are, the more danger they'll be in.
Oh, Riddle. Does he even care what he's part of? It seems like he's doing his own thing (which is obviously very Tom Riddle like, because he has always been his own worry) but wouldn't it benefit him to help in the task that he's supposed to be doing just to keep up apperances and make a stronger alliance with the people around him? Or is he not worried because his focus is really on Britain?Author's Response: Yes, that was clarly not a smart move by Duncan. I'm finally getting around to writing the next chapter, and let's just say things get a bit interesting for Ducan and Moody.
Pretty much everything Riddle does is perfectly calcuated to achieve a certain end. He tries to keep up the appearance of being a loyal employee, but he clearly has his own motivations for doing so.
Thank you so much for all the reviews! Report Review
Man, Moody is really a brilliant man! He's someone I'd want to be around me in a time of distress. I really thought something was going to go wrong but nothing has so far (but they still haven't gotten out of the building yet!).
It seemed a little to easy for them to do everything they did but then again the guards are 'dolts' as Anastasia would say. And Moody makes a good argument now about not drinking anything but what's in his flask. If I were Duncan I'd get my own flask when I'm around him, heaven only knows what he could do to him if he thinks Duncan is a shady character (even though he's not. He's actually very humorous).
I'm interested to see if they'd have to go about doing some things the muggle way because magic seems to be too easy, you know what I mean? It wasn't over the top in the chapter but taking the polyjuice potion, knocking them out, the use of the elastico spell (brilliant by the way). I would like to see Duncan use some of his strengths too.Author's Response: If I ever had to infiltrate a base in hostile territory like this, I would definitely want Moody there with me!
I totally see what you're saying about the use of magic, and that may or may not come into play later...
Thans for another review! Report Review
Loved Nicholas and Moody, even the toughest man needs a 'best friend.'
I really enjoyed the set up in this chapter. Obviously the action is going to come back again the next chapter (well, it's obvious to me anyway) because this was more of calm before the storm where everyone goes, 'Well, we have high security and great protection spells. No one would dare try to fight us on our territory or break in! They'd have to be crazy!'
We're lucky we all know who is crazy enough to do such a thing and able too. I can already envision the sour expression on Anastasia's face when she learns that someone did indeed come in when she left. Of course maybe they won't be caught? I think them not getting caught would be too easy, not as much fun as a chase of cat-and-mouse.
Oh, and I'm sure Riddle's intentions in Albania are so innocent. *rolls eyes* Anastasia, open your eyes!Author's Response: I suspected Moody would have a soft spot in there somehere, and while he doesn't really let people get close to him, a dog could totaly work.
And of course, Riddle ha no ulterior motives at all in Albania.
Thanks for another great review! Report Review
Oh, Moody! Seriously, he makes my day in this story. I couldn't stop snickering at the image of his scared face flying in an airplane. Though flying tends to scare me as well, there's always too much turbulence when I fly.
Anyway, for a second I thought our dear Anastasia wasn't going to be able to complete her mission. I kept screaming 'Retreat! Retreat!' in my head but of course they wouldn't. That's like throwing herself to her own death if she wouldn't have been able to complete her mission. Though I don't understand how she wouldn't have known that there would have been something to reveal them if they were under cover because I feel like that would just be the first thing I think of, what happens if there's this spell or there's this device? You know?
The jump was key, it's one of my favorite things I see happen in spy movies/action movies. I never understand how some of them actually do make it into the water. I know the movies are fictional but there is a family friend that did jump off a bridge many years ago that I know and he did make it. Apparently he was trying to think of a daring way to get on the news and show his ex-girlfriend just how much he loved her. Sounds insane but he survived his drop so I suppose why shouldn't the fictional characters in any universe survive theirs?Author's Response: I loved writng the scene with Moody on the plane, and given how much he distrusts just abou everything, I ca't imagine he would be too fond of flying.
And yes, the jump is pretty much the ultimate actin movie cliche, so I had to work that in somehow.
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Moody! I'm always a big fan of him, he's really not included in many stories I seem to come upon so it was nice to see his character. I thought you hit him right on the head.
Tom Riddle is something else, isn't he? I mean. I was even a little awed by his speech. You make him convincing. He's essentially like the public figures you see on TV, they have to have a strong voice, they have to exude confidence and be very convincing and they also have to be able to make a rowdy crowd cheer. I think cheering is key because sometimes even the biggest skeptic can get enamored by the crowd and swayed.
Even though Anastasia doesn't seem to be to keen on him. I think she's for her mission but I don't think she's for Riddle and whatever ideas he's going to have in the future. She could easily play two sides, I think but I guess I'll have to see what happens next.Author's Response: I love Moody, and since we really don' know anything abot his backstory, it was fun to get to make it up entirely.
I think thats the key to Riddle is that he had to be really charimatic at some point to get all those people to buy into what he wanted to do.
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And so it begins!
I have to say, Anastasia is a really interesting character. She's very chilling, tightly wound and serious. I could see her doing some terrible things in the future (but given her plans that's obvious) but how she does them will be interesting because she's obviously extremely smart, she's not going to go about things the way an amateur would.
Suddenly, the door swung open, and the merriment was interrupted by its loud crash and the sudden gust of chilling wind that accompanied it. A momentary hush fell over the room as a serious looking man in a finely tailored black suit, freshly starched white shirt and a plain tie stepped inside. He had short brown hair, was physically fit, and seemed to have a determination in his stride. By the looks of things, he was clearly some sort of government agent.
^ I really liked that entire part. I could just see it in my head. It's that moment that they play in the movies where the door swings open and that looming figure walks in and everyone pauses, a chill filling even the toughest character as they stare at the door way.
Excellent job. You never disappoint.Author's Response: Welcome back!
Glad you liked Anastasia, and I definitely wouldn't want to run into her in a dark alley. And that's pretty much exactly what I was going for in that scene with Augustus.
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You write historical fanfiction so well, I wonder, do you write historical fiction (original fiction) as another hobby? I know I read historical fiction novels outside of HPFF but I'd never attempt to write anything because I can never get the timeline of the dates right and the college I attend focuses more on American history.
I love Russian history (no offense to my country, I love America but there's only so much one person can learn about the Civil War) but apparently because the 'Cold War is over' they don't really teach anything about Russia besides the basic 'Well, the Cold War happened. America prevailed. Hurrah!' It's really a shame.
Anyway, not that that had anything really to do with this (sorry for my rambling) but I thought this was such a strong first chapter. I think your writing has really grown from Their Finest Hour (which I still have to finish...cough...cough) because the description was spot on.
I'm still baffled how you can weave the world of HP into the story, it fits so seamlessly. It'll be interesting to see how Riddle fits into the entire story because we really don't know much about his life except the basics: orphan, Dumbledore, Hogwarts, Hagrid, goes for Defense Position, starts to become Lord Voldemort...etc, etc, etc.Author's Response: Hey Deeds!
I actually haven't relaly written any original historical fiction, but after the kind of reception this story has been getting, Im starting to think about trying it.
And I agree about Russian history; it's just so fascinating. Also, this is pretty much an unknown era when it comes to HP canon, but I think we can assume that Tom Riddle was somewhere in Eastern Europe at the time.
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This is another excellent chapter! It very neatly continues on from the previous ones, constantly building the plot, even after the excitement of last chapter. You never run out of suspense for us readers, keeping up the tension perfectly with a good measure of action, bits of humour, and cliffhangers that are obviously planned out with care. Even if you haven't actually planned out the story so elaborately, it feels that way.
I'm not surprised that Anastasia discovered the breach so quickly - she's very efficient in her work, and while that's a great strength, I wonder whether it's also a weakness. She's too careful, too good at her job - but then again, we haven't seen her lose her temper yet, not completely. If she does lose it, I definitely fear for anyone who gets in her way. It's almost comical how she's the "brains of the outfit", literally surrounded by idiots. It says a lot about the kind of people Riddle chose as his followers - the fanatics and weak-minded; Riddle definitely did not want any competition.
It doesn't bode well for Moody and Duncan if they're stuck out there for a week. I'm not sure whether Anastasia will go after them, but if she does, she's the type would find them somehow. :P I think I like her too much - there's no clear line between heroes and villains in this story, which makes it more interesting and complex to read. People on both sides of this war are working for a greater goal... and meanwhile Riddle's just doing his own thing.
There were two typos I noticed in the final section of this chapter, one being "ordinarily" rather than "ordinary", the other being a missing word in the sentence "secrets that are in no position to have to know about" - is it "you are", perhaps? Or "we are"? Those are the only things I found to critique. Otherwise, it was a fantastic read and I'm once again looking forward to more of this story! :)Author's Response: Yay another review! It's such a great feeling when people who have been reading all along want to continue!
I sort of planned out an outline of the major plot events beforehand, but the smaller details I'm kind of making up as I go along, so its been a challenge for consistency and contuinity, but I'm glad to hear it seems to be working so far.
I't always seems to happen in many stories that the evil villain's henchmen are total idiots, and with some one like Riddle, I think it makes sense that he wouldn't want people who might think for themselves. Anastasia is definitely on top of game right now. i don't want to give too much away, but she might have some interesting twists in store.
I'm trying to show both sides and how it's basically a deadly international chess match that they're both trying to win, and I'll admit I do enjoy creating a bit of confusion about who to root for.
Thank you so much for yet another great review! Report Review
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