Published by Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group on March 5, 2019
Genres: Fiction / Action & Adventure, Fiction / Sea Stories, Fiction / Thrillers / General
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Wynn and Jack have been best friends since college orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey.
One night, with the fire advancing, they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank; the next day, a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the same man they heard? And if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.
I’d heard favourable reviews about this book, both online and my favourite book podcast What Should I Read Next?. Even though a tale of two boys canoeing a river in northern Canada did not immediately cause my pulse to race I launched into it with all the enthusiasm of an old lady looking to break out her reading rut. This is a stunning book, seriously. The exquisite detail of the Canadian wilderness truly made the location a major character in this heart thumping story. The two boys, their relationship and the impending doom that permeated like smoke after a bonfire made for an unforgettable adventure. Heart racing and heart breaking. An easy five stars.