When James Dickey's best-selling novel, Deliverance, appeared in 1970 Robert Stone wrote in Time Magazine, "Dickey finds and renders a quality of terror in the struggle of human against human sufficient to chill the most complacent heart." He could just as easily have been describing To the White Sea, a transcendent meditation on the savage and primal descent of one man facing desperate odds. James Dickey's novel is at once brutal and lyrical, reaffirming his position as one of America's best and most important contemporary writers. In a final sortie the day before the great fire-bombing raid on Tokyo in the last months of World War II, Muldrow, an American tail gunner, parachutes from his burning B-29 into the city. Protected at first by the smoke-blackened anarchy on the ground, he relentlessly treks north, away from the chaos and ruin of Tokyo, instinctively driven toward the island of Hokkaido, a frozen, desolate sanctuary he is certain will assure his survival - and freedom. With little more than a knife and a small map of Japan he makes his way across enemy terrain, alert to both danger and opportunity. But with every step and every breath his journey transforms into the flight of a pure predator. Haunting images consume his imagination as he stalks through a dark world where every passing moment of his violent odyssey brings him closer to a harrowing climax that is pure James Dickey in its fearsome conception. To the White Sea is a gripping adventure narrative that melds exacting, breakneck prose and true poetic imagination in the creation of an portrait, painted with the fierce and vivid reality of an unforgettable nightmare.
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