The paper back cover, a blue hued image of wilderness with waters and far wooded horizons

Another of my holiday reads this summer was in complete contrast to the Philippa Gregory historical tale of the Tudors. Lynn Schooler is an author I first actually heard on the radio recounting (probably reading verbatim) the account of his encounter with a bear in the Alaskan wilderness. The account is extremely memorable, and on reading my memory switched back to the interview quite immediately, which gave an interesting perspective on the writing.

Although this book is completely "masculine" compared with the rather "womanly" writing of Philippa Gregory there is actually a link with her writing , and perhaps an unexpected one

Every so often during the rather "Boys Own" adventure our protagonist is engaged with (a solo trek through extreme wilderness) he enters reveries into history. I think this is one of the most masculine aspects of the book, and not an especially appealing one to me personally. It is as though the character, faced with difficult emotional issues like the death of a close friend and the ending of his marriage, rather than deal with or think about these things chooses first to literally walk away, selfishly (perhaps) taking on a challenging adventure. Then whilst engaged with this even more evasively chooses to tell us all about the history of the area and events from the past, one could be forgiven for thinking he does this to avoid the present.

On the other hand these accounts of history and an obscure one at that are actually rather interesting. I had no idea of the tsunami in the 1960's which was in fact a more extreme geological event than the infamous millennium tsunami. The loss of life was far different, due to the remoteness of the region, but the fact there are eye witness accounts and survivors makes for some gripping reading.

So, there is the unexpected link - historical writing. Despite some great research which is nicely showcased in this book I have to say I found the history of Ms Gregory far and away the more engaging and consistent writing though.