“I’m a sourdough too, so I know exactly what the author is talking about. The long, dark Alaskan night has a frightening, haunting quality about it. You do truly feel that there is just this thin boundary between life, death and other worlds there. Great read!”

 - Reader Comments

The Mission on the Andreafski River

The mission and a typical village home.


The land had an imponderable emptiness about it, stretching out and out, beyond the powers of a man’s imagination to fill. Off in the distance the low sky fused with the gray line of the horizon, merging with the landscape in a pink haze, vast and immeasurable. Against this awesome expanse of land and sky even the great bend of the Yukon, gleaming with the borrowed fire of the sun, seemed a small and insignificant thing. The nearer complex of the mission site barely made an impression on it all. It seemed to go on forever, a snowy wasteland where no human voice was heard and there was nothing but the ghostly passage of the wind over the frozen tundra.

 At the time of the gold rush in the Klondike  the men called it the ‘Great Empty’ and many were lost in that wilderness, taking their lusts and desires and hopes with them to unknown graves. It was said that their voices still moved on the wind, sounding in the rustle of trees and the leafless branches of willow bush.

 Standing there on the brow of the hill Daniel had a new sense of himself. In all this, he thought, what was a man’s soul? What was so important about the things he carried in his small gray head? He had lived a soft life, unchallenged, wrapped in the cellophane of civility. He had never known hunger, or want. Yet, when he stared at the vacant landscape he was struck by the recollection that all men came out of that emptiness and, on day like this, when the wind was up and the stars were beginning to dance in the frosty sky, he ‘remembered’ something lying deep in his bones; something fearful, and hungry, and lost. It called to him, wolf-like, on the thin voices of the village dogs, a reminder that the ‘Great Empty’ was still there, waiting for him like the night waited on the brief rosy reign of the setting sun. - From Chapter 10- The Village.


“The steamboat wreck...that haunted mission...the strange dreams...those tracks in the snow... And oh my, that thing that comes in your sleep. Yikes! To think that much of this was based on a real time and place makes me shiver!”