on June 3, 2012
Every once in a while you find a book that knocks your socks off. "A Being Darkly Wise" is such a book. A group of Washington bureaucrats go on a wilderness training led by a mysterious, charismatic activist/scientist. As the story progresses they begin to realize how estranged they have become from the earth we inhabit. The bad guys are nastily bad, the good guys are heroically good but there is a whole other level. How does the leader mesmerize each member? Can we really meet minds with the animals if we reconnect with our prehistoric knowledge? Is the leader, Jake, a prophet? a Saviour? A madman? How would we react if Christ appeared among us? Would we take him seriously or would we crucify him? I have slept little for 2 days. The book was more restorative than sleep. Do yourself a favor-buy this book!
on April 30, 2012
Ingredients: one part diary of a Washington insider, one part introductory science textbook, one part love story, one part wilderness guide, and one part scary-as-hell thriller. Mix well, serve on ice. Enjoy.
I have to admit, I was initially skeptical of this book; climate change, while terrifying, doesn't readily lend itself to the adventure/thriller genre. However, Atcheson is so deft at weaving together the various threads of his story that I was almost halfway through the book before coming up for air. Even now, after a re-reading, I'm simply amazed at the range of emotional levers that Atcheson is able to pull: righteous anger at the do-nothing Washington establishment, sadness over love lost, excitement over new romantic interests, an intense desire to go fly-fishing, and plain-old fear.
Simply put, this is a must-read not only for those interested in climate change. This is a book for anyone who likes a nail-biting, keep-you-up-all-night, hold-your-breath-until-you-turn-blue type of thriller. Count me among those eagerly anticipating the sequel.
on May 3, 2012
Who wouldn't want to send a bunch of Washington D.C. bureaucrats on a survival trip in the Canadian wilderness???? That's what happens in "A Being Darkly Wise." Enigmatic Jake Christianson selects twelve, including EPA administrator Pete Andersen, to accompany him on a month-long survival trip. This isn't the first time Jake has led business and government leaders on a trip, and the outcome hasn't always been good. Readers will be rooting for Pete to survive and overcome his own personal demons, crossing their fingers that his new love, Karen Flannigan, will discover what Jake is really up to in time to help Pete. Survival and hunting techniques are described in graphic detail but should come with a warning: Don't attempt this at home!
on March 30, 2012
A "Thriller"? Yes, indeed. Let's just say that "A Being Darkly Wise" kept me up late, and, then some. It had me looking over my shoulder, raised my heart rate to an aerobically healthy level and, almost got me biting my nails again.
Mr. Atcheson is an experienced guide in the wildernesses of the Northern Forests, as well as, the deep and much darker realm of the human psyche. The man can spin a great yarn. The story stayed with me long after putting the book down. Yes, it's a thrilling and entertaining page turner. It, also, may be an "important book" in the way that the "Mars Trilogy", " A Handmaid's Tale" or "Ecotopia" were and still are.
"A Being Darkly Wise" is listed as Book 1, so, we can hope there's a sequel in the works. Please make it so, Mr. Atcheson. Otherwise, I'll have to go back to jogging in order to increase my heart rate to that aerobic level.
on September 5, 2012
This book was thoroughly entertaining, one of those "I can't put it down" books. The message is clear, articulate and frightening; We are on the crux of a decision as a species. Either we change rapidly or to paraphrase the book, we are a failed experiment, of a species. Nature will survive in some form and hopefully we will be wise enough to change before it is too late. All of the main characters are well written and the author takes you one their journey that is both frightening, entertaining and perhaps sublime/spiritual.
on November 11, 2012
On one level, this is the story of a dozen people going into the wilderness to save their souls and eventually their lives, but on a deeper level they are going on a mission to save the earth. Atcheson has brilliantly interwoven the tragedy of their wilderness excursion with the tragedy of mankinds meddling with the environment. It has elements of Moby Dick with a bear replacing the whale, and of the stories by Edward Abby. The leader, Jake, is an Eco-terrorist and has visions of creating an elite team to save the earth through some unspecified future action. Instead of forging the desired team, death and mayhem result in dissolution and destruction. It is a mystery novel, a thriller, and an intelligent commentary on our human condition, all in one. A beautiful and exciting first novel! I highly recommend it.
on June 7, 2012
I was introduced to the author via an article he wrote about the possibility of a nuclear catastrophe around the world if we were without electricity for a month or more....very startling research. So, I was motivated to read his fiction. One of the take home messages I realized from reading his book was how our 'cycle of greed" has spiraled out beyond a 'cycle of self sustainability" (my words not his). There was someway he put it all together that made me see this most clearly, and how, possibly, we have already gone beyond the point of no-return. I look forward to the sequel, of course.
on September 3, 2012
The problem with most fiction about global warming is that it takes place long after the effects have wreaked havoc on the planet, and therefore sidesteps any consideration of the fact that we live in the world upon which that fiction depends. In contrast to apocalypse porn, Atcheson opts instead for a smart, tightly-paced, thriller that lives very much in this world, and all its mystery and splendor. His characters cross the boundary from believable into possessed of belief, his accounts of the far wilderness are as beautiful as they are detailed and richly researched, and the narrative he weaves together feels eerily prescient. Make what you will of its elements of the fantastical; this is a fantastic novel, and should be required reading for activists, conservationists, and politicians alike. Highly recommended.
on January 4, 2013
"A Being Darkly Wise" was a bargain Kindle selection at $3.99, and has turned out to be one of the most stunningly current plot ideas I have come across in many years. The story weaves a tale of political intrigue, interlaced with deep environmental rage toward the stupidity and intransigence of human greed for the short term profits that have led us to the brink of extinction from global climate change. There are plot elements that are somewhat uneven, but make no mistake, this is a soulfully and skillfully crarfted work that is well worth your time. The idea that one could find a dozen, otherwise rational citizens of this world who would be willing to modify their live to the degree that they would undergo a form of boot camp in order to fly to the remote, undisturbed mountains of Northern British Columbia and survive together with no aids from "civilization', is strangely appealing. The author pulls all of this together quite nicely, and manages a believable, suspenseful environment, as backdrop for a stunning turn of the plot that calls into question many of the fundamental beliefs of our civilization. Those familiar with Ivan Illich's curageous concept of "The Corruption of Christianity" will appreciate Atcheson's vivid descriptions of the perversions of Capitalism and our ruling political systems. He captures quite nicely the lived frustration and impotence of a deity who may have created profound systems of extreme beauty and cohesion, only to see them destroyed by human greed and hubris. This book does it all, and moves the reader in profoundly new ways. Maybe what appears to be total predatory destruction is the only path for "A Being Darkly Wise".
on November 7, 2012
This gripping novel explores the notion that it just might be too late to reverse the crippling effects of too much greed and willful neglect of mother earth and the lengths a few are willing to go to protect what's left of our pristine world. There is much truth written in the pages of this breathtaking-wilderness of a novel. Truth we can't afford to ignore and certainly don't want to miss in this debut effort that is written with the kind of passion and zeal that can only come from an experienced and darkly wise hand. Atcheson delivers, start to finish, with a promise of more to come. A great read.