Fiction: “The Winter Boy”

2015 Locus Award Nominee

Bookwatch Reviewers’ Choice on Locus Magazine’s prestigious annual Recommended Reads List

Reminiscent of Margaret Atwood, Mary Doria Russell and Ursula K. Le Guin, ‘The Winter Boy’ explores important political and social issues within a dynamic, character-driven otherworld, wrapped up in masterful storytelling.

The Winter Boy by Sally Wiener GrottaClick to buy The Winter Boy

The Winter Boy was nominated for the prestigious Locus Award
“An amazing, tour-de-force literary work completely unlike anything I have ever read…. People will be studying and talking about ‘The Winter Boy’ for years to come.” ~ Wendy Delmater Thies, Abyss and Apex Magazine

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

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

Amidst this gathering political maelstrom, Rishana, a young new idealistic Allesha, takes her First Boy, Ryl, for a winter season of training. But Ryl is a problem boy who fights Rishana every step of the way. At the same time, Rishana uncovers a web of conspiracies that could not only destroy Ryl, but threatens to tear their entire society apart. And a winter that should have been a gentle, quiet season becomes one of conflict, anger and danger.
“A literary triumph ~ Dr. Babus Ahmed, Ajoobatcats
…a great book… in the ‘must read’ category for anyone who enjoys a cultural fantasy… ~ Charline Ratcliff, Seattle Post-Intelligencer

The Winter Boy on the ArtSceneRadio Show, WVIA-FM (the local NPR affliliate)

Please click on the Play button below to listen to Sally discussing the essence of human creativity, the inspirations behind her storytelling,and her novel The Winter Boy with Erika Funke.(January 2015) The recording starts with Erika reading a portion from The Winter Boy and concludes with Sally reading an excerpt of the teaching tale The Empty Land from the novel
“…with the kind of mysterious tone and a sense of a complete world apart that is the hallmark of the best…. ‘The Winter Boy’… exists in… a mythic, spiritual realm. Even ordinary lines resonate with this sense of the unseen.” ~ Peter Damien Bellis, author of The Conjure Man 
“…intriguing, thought provoking and highly enthralling.” ~ Lynn Worton, Zavive

Sally read a portion of The Northern Border, a teaching tale from The Winter Boy, at Readercon 2014 a few months before the book’s publication.