Geigle brings to life the logging industry in the late 1930s in his historical fiction debut.
Geigle's sweeping novel opens with a dramatic train derailment, which may have resulted from sabotage. Set against the backdrop of the Pacific Northwest logging industry, the epic narrative goes on to follow a large cast of characters devastated by the Great Depression, including Bud, the owner of the Skybillings Logging Company; Albert, a young worker; Clare, a union boss; and Lydia, Albert's mother and Clare's love interest. Bud tries to keep his company from going under by taking out loans to build a railroad trestle that would enable his men to work in a dangerous, remote area. Clare, a man of wealth and a champion for the poor, may not be whom he appears to be. Albert, whose late father co-owned Skybillings, searches for his place in the world as he tries to understand his fellow workers and the political games of the unions. Also in play is a larger story--at times hard to follow--of real historical events such as the disputes between the CIO and AFL labor unions.... Geigle handles his main characters well, ...giving each an interesting background and inner life. Standout moments come in the form of the daily struggles and comradeship of Albert and his co-workers, who talk--often in rough language appropriate to their work--of God, life and women. In the dangerous business of logging, these men must trust each other to stay alive. The novel captures the voice and character of each, yet brings together all the plot elements to create a suspenseful conclusion played out dramatically on a railroad trestle where people's true colors emerge and not everyone makes it out alive.