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Jack Zaleski, Published January 05 2013

Zaleski: More books for long winter nights

I have two more recommendations for winter reading, but first, a mea culpa.

Last week when I wrote about “The Loop,” I said the novel about the reintroduction of wolves into the wilds and ranchlands of Montana was by Nicholas Sparks. I goofed. The author is Nicholas Evans.

I like the work of both writers, but they certainly are different. Sparks is best known for “The Notebook” and “Message in a Bottle” (both adapted into successful movies), among others in the romantic fiction genre. Evans’ best known novel (made into a hit film a few years ago) is “The Horse Whisperer.” He also wrote “The Smoke Jumper” and others.

Apologies to both authors. And thanks to readers who caught the mistake right away and let me know about it.

Now, more books for winter reads:

“Fall of Giants” by Ken Follett, Penguin Group, 2012. Another best-seller for Follett, this is the first in the author’s ambitious “Century Trilogy.” True to Follett’s form, it’s a satisfying journey through the tumultuous era before and through World War I and the Russian Revolution. The author’s descriptions of the time confirm his attention to details that are so important to the novel’s sense of time and place. His best historical novels work so well because of his meticulous research.

The novel follows the lives of several intriguing characters from several nations, all eventually swept up by the uncertainties, dislocations and horrors of war and societal change. They find themselves entangled in the currents of the times and with each other, as the saga races to the end of the war and its initial aftermath.

The second installment of “Century” is on the shelves. “Winter of the World” picks up the characters and story lines of the first novel, post WWI. The third novel of the trilogy, “Edge of Eternity,” is scheduled for publication in 2014. More good reading from a master of the historical novel.

“Poseidon’s Arrow” by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler, Penguin Group, 2012. For a light, fast-moving adventure, no one is better than Cussler. His latest thriller, co-authored with his son, is No. 22 of the Dirk Pitt series. Pitt has been called oceanography’s Indiana Jones, and he lives up to that handle in this improbable romp of international crime, political intrigue and technological wows.

Fans of the Dirk Pitt novels will love the hero’s exploits in this new one. It’s about a state-of-the-art U.S. attack submarine and a gaggle of bad guys bent on stealing the technology. Superseaman and patriotic vigilante Pitt is called on to find out who is behind the elaborate conspiracy, and to do what is necessary to end it.

I’m about halfway through the tale. It accelerates every time I crack the book. Not great literature, but great fun for a winter read.


Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at (701) 241-5521.