Little else in life is as dangerous as fire jumping. Flying past towering pillars of smoke, parachuting down to the edge of an all-consuming blaze, shoveling and sawing for hours upon hours, days at a time, all to hold the line and push back against the raw power of Mother Nature.
But there’s also little else as thrilling - at least to Rowan Tripp. The Missoula smoke jumpers are one of the most exclusive firefighting squads in the nation, and the job is in Rowan’s blood: her father is a legend in the field. She’s been fighting fires since her eighteenth birthday. At this point, returning to the wilds of Montana for the season feels like coming home - even with reminders of the partner she lost last season still lingering in the air.
Fortunately, this year’s rookie crop is among the strongest ever - and Gulliver Curry’s one of the best. He’s also a walking contradiction, a hotshot firefighter with a big vocabulary and a winter job at a kids’ arcade. He came to Missoula to follow in the footsteps of Lucas “Iron Man” Tripp, yet he’s instantly more fascinated by his hero’s daughter. Rowan, as a rule, doesn’t hook up with other smoke jumpers, but Gull is convinced he can change her mind. And damn if he doesn’t make a good case to be an exception to the rule.
Everything is thrown off balance, though, when a dark presence lashes out against Rowan, looking to blame someone for last year’s tragedy. Rowan knows she can’t complicate things with Gull - any distractions in the air or on the ground could be lethal. But if she doesn’t find someone she can lean on when the heat gets intense, her life may go down in flames.
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Good Story + Great Narrator
compelling, evocative, Gulliver
I've read a lot of Nora Roberts' novels and many of them blend together for me, which means that they were less than compelling or memorable. Not bad, mind you. Just not exceptional in any way.
A couple of her novels have stood out for me, and this I think is the one that I like best. I certainly admire Roberts' ability to make the perilous world of fire jumpers come into focus. A lot of research went into this, but (and this is the hard part) she never indulges the temptation to simply show off what she learned -- Roberts provides just enough detail to get a real sense of how physically and mentally challenging fire jumping is. I got a good idea of the current technology and how it's used, and maybe most important, I began to understand the mindset and priorities that would drive an otherwise sensible and intelligent human being to jump out of a plane into a raging fire.
The primary romance is exceptionally good. Rowan, a veteran fire jumper, and Gulliver, a rookie. I find I can't resist the urge to use the totally predictable descriptive phrase: they generate tremendous heat.
Rowan tells Gulliver the truth.
The scenes between Rowan and her father were very well done. She realizes that he has been lonely, and that she doesn't want him to be lonely, no matter how much change scares her.
Tremendously interesting, and an alpha-hero who tempers near perfection with a good dose of self-awareness.
- RL Green
Another winner by Roberts!
- M. Davis