The Longest Winter
Da Capo Press; October 2005
It was a cold wintry morning in December1944, deep in the Ardennes forest of Belgium. Eighteen men of a small intelligence platoon commanded by twenty-year-old lieutenant Lyle Bouck were huddled in their foxholes, desperately trying to keep warm. Suddenly the early morning silence was broken by the roar of a huge artillery bombardment. Hitler had launched his bold and risky offensive against the Allies his "last gamble" and the American platoon was facing the main thrust of the entire German assault. Vastly outnumbered, the platoon repulsed three German assaults in a fierce day-long battle to defend a strategically vital hill. Only when Bouck's men had run out of ammunition did they surrender. More than thirty years later, when President Carter recognized the unit's "extraordinary heroism" and the U.S. Army approved combat medals for all eighteen men, they became America's most decorated platoon of World War II.
Penguin Group (USA); July 2001
In a rural area of northern Wisconsin, a family of three is savagely wiped out by the Iceman, who then torches their house. In pursuit of a damaging photograph--a snapshot of him in a sexual situation with a local boy--this fiend puts no value on human life. Enter Davenport, the laconic, slightly cynical ex-cop from Minneapolis, who uncovers several disturbing truths before determining the Iceman's identity. The wintry climate is practically palpable here; numbing cold and blizzards prove as threatening as the Iceman's malevolence. Despite its chilling moments (literally and figuratively), this forceful narrative is tempered with an unexpected humanity, as evidenced primarily in the mature, slowly blossoming romance between Davenport and a local doctor. The moments of tenderness and humor shared by the rugged detective and this worldly wise Mother Earth figure stand in vigorous counterpoint to the surrounding events. Sandford casts a keen eye, too, on small-town life: he knows that everyone's peccadilloes are grist for the rumor mill, and that secrets can quickly sour. A compelling vitality suffuses this novel, arguably the finest in a sterling quintet.
Random House; February 1998
He would have to find some way to protect himself, some weapon. The fire worked well when it was burning, but it had burned down. His hatchet and knife would have done nothing more than make the bear really angry -- something he did not like to think about and his bow was good only for smaller game. He had never tried to shoot anything bigger than a foolbird or rabbit with it and doubted that the bow would push the arrow deep enough to do anything but, again, make the bear really made. He bundled in his bag that night, the end of the two weeks of warm weather. He kept putting wood on the fire, half afraid the bear would come back. All the while he tried to think of a solution. But in reality, the bear was not his primary adversary. Nor was the wolf, nor any animal. Brian had become his own worst enemy because in all the business of hunting, fishing and surviving he had forgotten the primary rule: Always, always pay attention to what was happening. Everything in nature means something and he had missed the warnings that summer was ending, had in many ways already ended, and what was coming would be the most dangerous thing he had faced since the plane crashed.
Compiled by: Sanyat Sattar
(R) thedailystar.net 2005