Wednesday, October 25, 2006
by Milo Clark - Book Review - Swans.com
Monday, March 27, 2006
Summer Snow is a relatively simple novel crafted around universal themes: cross-cultural love, first loyalties, governmental duplicities, contemporary lists of nasties, and a chase in search of an errant nuke.
William T. Hathaway is a very interesting man, too. Tested as a special operations warrior in Vietnam and Panama, he is now a strong anti-war activist.He wrote Summer Snow during a year-and-a-half in the country that forms his stage.
That stage is Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian relic of the defunct Soviet Union. History is very deep out there. Mountains and crags and roadless wilds dominate the landscape. The Silk Road that once connected Europe to the silks and spices of Asia passes through. For most of modern history, little of note to outsiders happened there. Kyrgyzstan is on top of Afghanistan and provides funnels in and out of that troubled conglomerate of tribal allegiances so recently unknown to most Americans. The only bridge into northern Afghanistan leaves from Kyrgyz soil.
The Soviets had a number of missile silos in Kyrgyzstan. It is one leftover warhead that provides focus for Summer Snow's chase.
Add in one complexity to differentiate Summer Snow. The heroine, Cholpon, imbued with requisite dark-haired, dark-eyed exotic central Asian beauty is also a devotee of Djamila, an older woman and Shakya, head of an all woman order. Djamila has fashioned a fusion of Islamic Sufism, Hindu mysticism, and Transcendental Meditation (TM). Djamila knows how to save the world. Her women are both devoted and industrious.
The American protagonist, Jeff, is a battle-worn veteran of special operations, Vietnam and such, now retired somewhat. As a rather standard, densely-headed American, a bit on the "ugly" side, he needs some convincing that Djamila's version of TM will lead those who stole the nuke to give it back and go away quietly.
There are interludes with Cholpon, naturally.
For those, such as myself, fascinated with Central Asia and its spiritual disciplines, Summer Snow is a compendium. The mix of Sufi, Hindu, and TM ideas takes some suspension of credulity at the start but then flows relatively seamlessly to the denouement.
Whether Jeff or Djamila wins Cholpon, whether TM or Delta Force returns the nuke to safe hands, whether Jeff gets "it" are questions better left to the reading of Summer Snow.
Hathaway, William T.: Summer Snow, Avatar Publications, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, 2005, ISBN 0-9738442-3-X (paperback) - E-book (pdf): ISBN 0-9738442-4-8, Microsoft Reader: ISBN 0-97388442-5-6.