The River, by Peter Heller

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Wynn and Jack have been best friends since freshman orientation, bonded by their shared love of mountains, books, and fishing. Wynn is a gentle giant, a Vermont kid never happier than when his feet are in the water. Jack is more rugged, raised on a ranch in Colorado where sleeping under the stars and cooking on a fire came as naturally to him as breathing. When they decide to canoe the Maskwa River in northern Canada, they anticipate long days of leisurely paddling and picking blueberries, and nights of stargazing and reading paperback Westerns. But a wildfire making its way across the forest adds unexpected urgency to the journey. When they hear a man and woman arguing on the fog-shrouded riverbank and decide to warn them about the fire, their search for the pair turns up nothing and no one. But: The next day a man appears on the river, paddling alone. Is this the man they heard? And, if he is, where is the woman? From this charged beginning, master storyteller Peter Heller unspools a headlong, heart-pounding story of desperate wilderness survival.

About the Author

Peter Heller is a longtime contributor to NPR, and a former contributing editor at Outside Magazine, Men's Journal, and National Geographic Adventure. He is a award winning adventure writer and the author of four books of literary nonfiction. He lives in Denver. He traveled the world as an expedition kayaker, writing about challenging descents in the Pamirs, the Tien Shan mountains, the Caucuses, Central America and Peru. he was the first man, with a Kiwi paddler named Roy Bailey, to kayak the Muk su River int he High Pamirs of Tadjikistan. the river was known as the Everest of Rivers in the Soviet union, and the last team that had attempted it lost five of their eleven men. The run was 17 days of massive whitewater through a canyon inhabited by wolves and snow leopards.