In a richly inspired debut reminiscent of "Snow Falling on Cedars" and "The English Patient," this stirring novel, set against a magnificent Alaskan backdrop, reveals one of the most closely guarded secrets of World War II in a tale that is both a heart-quickening mystery and a unique love story.In a richly inspired debut reminiscent of "Snow Falling on Cedars" and "The English Patient," this stirring novel, set against a magnificent Alaskan backdrop, reveals one of the most closely guarded secrets of World War II in a tale that is both a heart-quickening mystery and a unique love story.Read Less
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The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan
is written in a style comparable to Charles Dickens with Chaucer editing over his shoulder.
Nowhere as yet, have I a found a World War II
soldier. As an avid reader, I found this book
difficult to digest. It opens in eighteenth
century New Zealand.
Although it would appear to be clever of the writer to speak in the vernacular of the local and time frame, it makes the story more of a linguistic puzzle than an entertaining tale.
Publishers Weekly, 2003-12-15 The unlikely adventures of an 18-year-old soldier trained in bomb detection and disposal during World War II are painstakingly rendered against an Alaskan backdrop in Callanan's richly textured, sturdy debut. In the mid-1940s, Sgt. Louis Belk's main mission is to seek out and detonate Japanese hot air balloons that have been armed with explosives and deployed over North America-an unusual but deadly war weapon. The slightest rumor of the balloons' existence might have a disastrous effect on American morale, which makes the job of Belk's bomb disposal unit even more critical. The unit's commanding officer, the eccentric, unbending Capt. Thomas Gurley, is a veteran spy hunter who lost a leg in an explosion and is on the verge of losing his mind. Both Gurley and Belk are smitten with Lily, an enticingly beautiful Yup'ik-Russian Eskimo seer whose great love, Saburo, a Japanese spy, is Gurley's nemesis. When the three go out in search of Saburo, they find something even more dangerous and puzzling: a booby-trapped balloon carrying a young Japanese boy. The narrative flits back and forth from Belk's harrowing exploits as a soldier to his present-day life as an Alaskan missionary tending to his friend Ronnie, who lies on his deathbed in an Alaskan hospice. Shadowed by the darkness of "arctic hysteria," the novel is brightened by crisp descriptions of bomb mechanisms and deactivation, as well as by Belk's offbeat, lyrical narration. Atmospheric and moving, this is an impressively assured debut. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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