Hold the Dark

Hold the Dark

Mysterious Book Report No. 188

by John Dwaine McKenna

There’s an ongoing battle between humans and nature that is eternal in character and inevitable in prospect; Mother Nature always wins in the end.  But that doesn’t mean we humans will ever stop trying—look anywhere on Earth and one can find places where men and women have built structures to keep out the elements.

Hold the Dark, (Liveright Publishing / W.W. Norton & Company Ltd., $24.95, 203 pages, ISBN 978-0-87140-667-5) by William Giraldi takes place in the far north . . . in the extreme dark and cold of the Arctic winter . . . where it’s mankind versus the elements, and mankind is losing.  Game is already scarce, winter just beginning and the wolves are starving.  In the remote village of Keelut, wolves have taken three children, one of whom is the six year old son of Vernon and Medora Slone.  He’s a sniper with the US Army, somewhere in the Middle East.  She’s just trying to survive.  When her son disappears, she calls in nature writer and wolf expert Russell Core—a sixty year-old burnout who’s trying to find a way to end his life—enlisting him to locate her boys bones so that they might be buried.  While Core may be a wolf expert, he’s unprepared for the harsh conditions and subarctic temperatures at the top of the world . . . forcing him to borrow Vernon Sloan’s clothes.  Russel Core sets out to track the wolf pack that stole the village children but can’t complete the task.  He returns to Keelut to find Medora gone and a horror in the root cellar of her cabin.  Wounded in battle, Vernon Sloan returns and together with his lifelong friend . . . a quiet and deadly man named Cheeon . . . begins a hunt for his wife that leaves a bloody smear across the frozen tundra before leading to a surprising, unforeseen and shocking conclusion that will have you thinking about the book long after you’ve finished reading it.  What choices does one have to make in order to stay alive at the extreme edges of endurance, civilization and survival, where humans are just another species of animal trying to live one more day?  What choices would you be forced into if you were locked in an icy heart of darkness?  Hold the Dark is a short, but compelling read that’ll give each reader food for thought for some time to come.

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Hold the Dark



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