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Reading The North
New books of interest to Alaskans

(Published: November 17, 2002)

Dark Gold

By Sean E. Thomas

(Infinity Publishing, $14.95)

The blurb: "Alaska State Trooper Robert Sable investigates the strange appearance of a frozen aviator on an iceberg in Prince William Sound. The dead aviator was the co-pilot of a plane carrying a shipment of gold worth millions, destined for Russia. An Anchorage mob boss kills Sable's partner. As Sable investigates his partner's murder and assembles the clues, he finds that anyone with knowledge of the gold dies."

Excerpt: "Sable drew them from his pocket, his hand shaking slightly, and with great difficulty dropped the items into Owen's outstretched hand. The only way out of this predicament was to bring Frost to Justice. A week ago, this wouldn't have mattered at all. In fact, a week ago he hadn't cared if he lived or died. Was it Sue, the case, or had he done it himself? He stood, squared his shoulders, turned and walked away, trying not to slouch. He had a score to settle with McCable."

The Flame of Adventure

By Simon Yates

(The Mountaineers Books, $16.95)

The blurb: "Yates details myriad escapades, both on and off the mountains. His climbing takes him from the very public north face of the Eiger to isolated Khan Tengri in Central Asia, and from an uncomfortable night on the floor of a laundry to first-class accommodations at the expense of a Hollywood film company. Whether earning cash, using his rope skills on a building site or surviving a marathon hitchhike with a pill-popping trucker across Australia, Yates exemplifies the free-spirited life of an explorer 'living a full life while the opportunity offers.' "

First lines: "I slumped forward into the slope and let my body weight drop onto the ski poles I held in each hand. The poles sank deeply into the soft, wet snow, reducing me to an uncomfortable stoop. Normally I would have plunged them in again and readjusted myself into a more upright position, but I was too tired to care. I simply stood bowed, head down, listening to my gasping breath. My heart was pounding, and with each beat, painful pulses of blood ran through bulging veins on either side of my forehead."

Portals in a Northern Sky

By Charles Douglas Hayes

(Autodidactic Press, $24.95)

The blurb: "If you think Wasilla makes an unlikely staging ground for an epic saga, think again. While you're at it, fasten your seat belt. Alaska author Charles Douglas Hayes has taken on the future in his debut novel. Part science-fiction, part historical quest and part action thriller, the story involves astrophysics, gold fever, the Alaska Highway, a Dallas drug lord and Moby-Dick, among other things. All of the multiple themes and story lines meet in a climax near Mount McKinley."

Excerpt: "The more Ginger thought about it, the better it sounded. Vince had shown her a picture of the cabin his father had left him in Alaska. The place was small, but the surroundings were beautiful. The sunrise or sunset in the background of the photo gave a light reminiscent of cathedral windows. They could move to a city nearby and stay at the cabin part time. God, it sounded great, almost too good to be true. There must be a catch."

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