Spotlight on Alaska Books: The Raven's Gift, by Don Rearden

From the top of the
tower he could see the town, the wide, sweeping river, and the rolling
mountains in the distance.
The town looked as
lifeless as the white wasteland surrounding it. The single red light he had
seen the night before, perched high on a radio tower, was still lit, but that
was the only sign of life. No smoke. No movement. No sounds.
Parts of Bethel bore the familiar snow-covered blackness of ruin, just on a
much larger scale. The monstrous white fuel tanks that once bordered the river
at the center of town were gone, replaced with twisted, blackened metal
craters. The half-charred ruins of the town stretched out before him like a
commune for the undead. The vision of a burnt and frozen town reminded him of a
Robert Frost poem, something about the world ending in either ice or fire.
Bethel appeared to have died twice.
The Raven’s Gift
By Don Rearden
Synopsis: John Morgan and his wife can barely
contain their excitement upon arriving as the new teachers in a Yup’ik Eskimo
village on the windswept Alaskan tundra. But their move proves disastrous when
a deadly epidemic strikes and the isolated community descends into total chaos.
When outside aid fails to arrive, John’s only hope lies in escaping the
snow-covered tundra and the hunger of the other survivors—he must make the
thousand-mile trek across the Alaskan wilderness for help. He encounters a
blind Eskimo girl and an elderly woman who need his protection, and he needs
their knowledge of the terrain to survive. The harsh journey pushes him beyond
his limits as he discovers a new sense of hope and the possibility of loving
“At first glance, The Raven’s Gift might appear to be an
epic thriller set in the ancient land, but it goes much farther than that into
the delicate frontiers of the human heart–the best book I’ve read this
year.”–Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries
“The book is
fantastic, one of the best books about Alaska I have ever read. It calls to mind
Cormac McCarthy and Stephen King, but at the same time it is all its own…It is
a survival story and an edge-of-the-seat thriller.” –Eowyn Ivey, Pulitzer Prize
nominated author of The Snow Child

Author Bio: Don Rearden grew up on the tundra of
southwestern Alaska. He is board
president of the 49 Writers, a produced screenwriter, and award-winning author.
He teaches writing as an Associate Professor at the University
of Alaska Anchorage
. The Raven’s Gift is available from
Penguin in trade paperback, Kindle, and iBook.
More info at
Purchase a copy at this
fine Alaskan bookseller:
Or for your Kindle:
Don’s book launch party is Thursday, June 27 from 6-9 pm at Taproot in Anchorage.

4 thoughts on “Spotlight on Alaska Books: The Raven's Gift, by Don Rearden”

  1. Amazing book! Really quite chilling and filled with atmospheric description. Plus, Don's knowledge of "real" Alaska infuses every page. Run, don't walk, to purchase The Raven's Gift.

  2. Great new cover. Gorgeous!
    BTW, my friend, Beth Weltner, is a teacher in Akiak. She's in Anchorage, pretty much, this summer. I introduced The Raven's Gift to the HS kids when I was there in October 2012. Now, she says they are passing it around and apparently quite into it, which was certainly my intention. Next year, after school starts, maybe you can do a call in to her classroom. She'd arranged this with another author I recommended in the same way and the plan fell apart… due to scheduling or something. Of course, a disappointment to the kids. So, how about it? And maybe you could meet this 20 year veteran bush teacher while she's in town this summer. A treat for all of us. ~ Sandy Kleven, Cirque editor

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