by Robert F. Jones

Simon & Schuster; 205 pages; $10.95

In his third and best novel, Robert F. Jones tracks the elemental grandeur of Alaska from feral Eden to pipeline ruination. In 1950 Bush-Pilot Buddies Jack Slade and Sam Healey are forced to land their aging C-47 in the icy outback. Charlie Blue, a Tlingit Indian shaman, appears and assists them through a surpassingly beautiful valley to rescue. The pilots promise to return, but before they can, Healey leaves Slade holding a smoking pistol and a murder rap in the wake of a saloon brawl. End of partnership. Slade settles down to homestead...

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