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349 pages, Kindle Edition
First published October 19, 2009
"Two undesirable prostitues establshed on government land," he wired. "What should I do?"Most of this introduction is a bit dull, but it was necessary for the next 200 or so pages. Egan describes this in very active terms: "flames lunging", "mountains bellow", "continuous staccato". As this area was dotted with small towns, there were civilians in addition to those associated with the forest service. (Who would support those saloons and whorehouses?) ... the streets were packed with people, some fleeing for the river, intending to wait out the fire in the shallows, others riding horses and carriages straight out of town, unsure of whether they were heading into the fire or not. This long middle of the book was as much a thriller as any you'll read for that purpose. Who would live? Who would escape? Who would be found dead, or who not found at all?
"Another ranger wired back: "Get two desirable ones."