From the Publisher
“Active maintains his awe of the vast Alaskan tundra, a forbidding region that Jones renders in all its bone-chilling beauty.”
—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review
“[Jones’s] depiction of a freezing world of tar-paper houses and whaling camps is absolutely convincing.”
The New York Times
Even as he struggles to understand the quirky ways of modern Eskimos and comes to respect ''the cheerful fatalism with which the Inupiat seemed to arm themselves against the perplexities of life,'' Active maintains his awe of the vast Alaskan tundra, a forbidding region that Jones renders in all its bone-chilling beauty. — Marilyn Stasio
In Jones's stirring, often moving second mystery (after 1999's White Sky, Black Ice), set in Northwest Alaska, trooper Nathan Active must solve the theft of a sacred Inupiat mummy. Well-meaning "naluaqmiut" (white men) at the Smithsonian have sent mummified "Uncle Frosty" to a museum, only to have the body stolen by villagers wishing to respect traditional native funeral customs. When a tribal elder turns up impaled on the mummy's harpoon at his lonely ice-fishing outpost, an extensive investigation follows across a vast barren area. Active tracks down a fascinating series of suspects living in isolated hunting and whaling camps and in squalid igloos, each with an intriguing story to tell. Active soon finds himself caught in a struggle between the fearsome power of "Shamans" (pagan devil doctors) and the legacy of Natchiq, a murdered prophet and social reformer. In time, the trooper and the reader achieve a deeper level of understanding of bygone traditions in a remote society where snowmobiles are replacing dogsleds and young children crave Pok mon cards. Jones skillfully depicts the beauty and desolation of the "treeless tundra" in winter as well as the hardships of survival in one of the world's most hostile climates. In the compelling ending, Active and his posse fly to a remote mountain pass to hunt for Uncle Frosty and his abductor. A handy Inupiat glossary and background history are included. (May) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.