- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: CoolMain Press; 2nd ed. edition (June 15, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1908369000
- ISBN-13: 978-1908369000
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 21 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,794,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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IDITAROD a novel of The Greatest Race on Earth 2nd ed. Edition
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About the Author
André Jute is a novelist and, through his non-fiction books, a teacher of creative writing, graphic design and engineering. There are about three hundred editions of his books in English and a dozen other languages. He was educated in Australia, South Africa and the United States. He has been an intelligence officer, racing driver, advertising executive, management consultant, performing arts critic and professional gambler. His hobbies include old Bentleys, classical music (on which for fifteen years he wrote a syndicated weekly column), cycling, hill walking, cooking and wine. He designs and builds his own tube (valve) audio amplifiers. He is married to Rosalind Pain-Hayman and they have a son. They live on a hill over a salmon river in County Cork, Eire.
Top customer reviews
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I was not initially convinced that the Iditarod would provide steady interest as the subject of a book. I didn't think there would be enough variety in the situations it presented to a reader. I changed my mind right away when the race began with a lively series of problems and challenges for the young people. There is not one possible threat they do not face and overcome, in an atmosphere so authentic that I can't help wondering if Andre took part in the race some time under a pseudonym and doesn't want to tell us...
The best praise I can offer this book is to compare Rhodes and James and their dogs Toots, Delilah, and General to beloved characters from my childhood in the 1970's: Alec and the Black, from Walter Farley's Black Stallion series. Those books, showing the union of a young person and a working animal through love and respect, defined a genre. Iditarod might be the best book of its kind since.
Thanks for a great read, Andre.
Farley's classic: The Black Stallion
The story that forms the core of Jute's novel is a combination of adventure and romance. Rhodes Dealney grew up on a ranch in Colorado and she is an accomplished outdoorswoman who runs her dogsled team through the Rockies or into town to pick up groceries in the winter. James Alderston Whitbury III is a spoiled, rich kid who is also an enthusiastic outdoors adventurer. They meet and you know this is going to be fun. What romance doesn't start out with a brutal, 1,000 mile race through the Alaskan wilderness? Right from the beginning we know that these two were made for each other, now they have to make sure they don't get killed while figuring that out for themselves.
Jute has clearly done a tremendous amount of research. He knows his material thoroughly - everything the care and feeding of the sled dogs (who are as much characters in the story as Rhodes and James) to the preparations for the ordeal. James prepares by designing an ultra-sleek, hi-tech sled designed to give him significant advantages. Rhodes prepares by working long, brutal hours in a salmon processing plant in order to earn the money for the race.
Animal lovers question whether the Iditarod is horrible for the dogs but if the love and care that Rhodes and James lavish on their dogs is the norm, dog lovers need not worry. The dogs are keenly attuned to their "musher" and are rewarded with a diet that includes treats like lamb chops, blocks of cream cheese, and "stinkfish" which sounds awful but they love it. Jute also points out that dogs, unlike horses and other animals, won't be pushed beyond their limit. When they've had it they just lay down and don't get back up until they feel like it.
But the real joy of this book are the descriptions of the beauties and perils that line the trail. Everything from the beauty of mushing through a snow-covered crevasse under the shimmer of the Northern Lights to encounters with wild animals. Rhodes and her dogs meet up with a cranky bull moose who doesn't want them on his trail. There are meetings with musk ox and a very hungry bear and the final climactic encounter with a pack of starving wolves that literally found me sitting on the edge of my chair - both times.
Jute has done an extraordinary job of giving the reader as much of an experience of this perilous as one can find while sitting in a comfortable chair while safely at home. His attention to detail is exquisite. He brings to life, not only his human characters, but the personalities of the animals as well. Rhodes' lead dog Toots (a name that delighted me because I have a dog named Toots in my current WIP) is a delightful character and the grouchy moose and the hungry bear will stay with me for a long time. This is a thoroughly exciting and beautiful book. Highly recommended.
The details of the Iditarod were fascinating, and I feel as though I learned a lot about something I had only heard of. The race is so long, grueling and dangerous. The dogs are incredible, and their care prior to and during the race is fully explained. There were various wild animals the racers had to contend with, especially wolves, and the information about the wolves and other animals was educational. The interactions between the racers and wild animals was intense and frightening. The weather, land and water conditions were so challenging to the racers and the dogs. The intensity and suspense could be felt, not like mystery suspense, but the suspense if the racers could possibly survive the various life-threatening situations in which they found themselves. There were short bursts of humor woven into the story.
I liked the two main characters, Rhodes and James, who were developed as the race progressed. It was impossible to root for one over the other. But, in a way, the characters were secondary to the Iditarod itself. It was the race that was riveting and the descriptions that made me feel I was there, feeling the cold, the exhaustion, the isolation, the pain, and the fear. I just can't say enough good about this book and the author's ability to write.
Most recent customer reviews
Reviewed by: Dr Benjamin Pittman
André Jute certainly wastes no time in...Read more