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The River

A book by Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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A high speed thriller in Canada's far north

  • Jan 10, 2011
  • by
Del Hawthorne, professor of anthropology, is shocked beyond words when a man she thought long dead stumbles into her classroom, looking like he had escaped from a psych ward and repeating one of her father's favourite sayings! Even more stunning is his insistence that her father, whom Hawthorne had thought killed in a canoeing accident on the wild Nahanni River in the far northern reaches of Arctic Canada, is also alive. Before the man who was her father's scientific colleague and canoeing partner, also presumed dead in the same accident and now obviously very close to death, passes out, he gives Del a coded journal and tells her that all the information she will need to find her missing father is in the journal.

Del Hawthorne mounts a canoe expedition to the rugged, remote Nahanni, perhaps one of the most widely known and, indeed feared, legendary whitewater river trips in the world, to follow the clues to her missing father. To use a metaphor appropriate to the story, one might say that the waters of THE RIVER, ever accelerating and broadening, flow quickly from their source down a steep gradient. The swift current, the intimidating standing waves, the whirlpools and the man-eating hydraulics increase in intensity as the story approaches the lip of a mighty waterfall at which point a tightly scripted suspense novel morphs into what I would categorize as an untapped, if not unique, entirely new genre - a sci-fi suspense thriller.

The group encounters, of all unexpected eventualities, a time portal which miraculously transports them to the year 2031 into a high tech lab where they now encounter fantastic new technologies - miraculous medical advances on the brink of curing all diseases and halting the ravages of aging. What does it all mean and, more important, where does Del Hawthorne's long lost father fit into all this?

There is little doubt about Cheryl Kaye Tardif's ability to spin a fantastic, compelling, high speed tale that will pull its readers along with all the urgency of a high speed swift on the Nahanni River. As an accomplished outdoorsman and wilderness traveller myself, I will also comment that Tardif's description of the mechanics of wilderness travel and the grating, difficult dynamics of personal interactions in a confined, wilderness setting are spot on (with only one jarring exception ... there are no "oars" in a canoe (shudder!) ... they are paddles!). And, if I may say so, readers will shiver with delight over Tardif's absolutely inspired way of blending the horrifying (and, believe it or not, real life) Canadian legends of headless corpses found along the Nahanni River into to her story with chilling effect.

The reason I have withheld one star rests with a plot quibble that niggled at me through the entire dénouement of the story. The climax of Tardif's wonderful mystery rests with the ability of a very talented present day computer programmer to implant a deadly virus into a 2031 computer system. I couldn't help but think that the mind-numbing speed at which computer hardware and software is evolving might well mean that today's programmers may have difficulty even booting and using a system 20 years from now let alone figuring how to hack into one and program a debilitating virus. Just my 2¢ of course ...

That said, THE RIVER is an immensely entertaining story that will appeal to readers of all stripes. Highly recommended.

Paul Weiss

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January 11, 2011
Great review, Paul, as usual for you. Hugs - Betty
January 11, 2011
Thanks, Betty.
More The River reviews
review by . March 15, 2008
Before deciding to purchase The River, I read the author's blog. At first I thought this book was a true story because she wrote the blog synopsis in first person, but at the end she admitted this really didn't happen to her; it was simply a clever lure to garner more interest.    And it worked for me! Author Cheryl Kaye Tardif hooked me from the first sentence. I couldn't wait to read it. Having already read and raved over her later release, Whale Song: A Novel, I knew I would …
review by . September 23, 2006
When Dr. Lawrence Hawthorne and three of his companions disappear during a trip along the Nahanni River in the Canadian wilderness, everyone presumes that he is dead. Then, seven years after his disappearence one of the party shows up at the campus where Hawthorne's daughter, Delia is a researcher. The man is barely recognizeable and he is-incredibly-aging visibly as she watches him. More astonishingly, he has news: Delia's father is alive!  Delia gathers a rescue party that heads out …
About the reviewer
Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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"A gripping combination of suspense, sci-fi and adventure...a cross between Michael Crichton's Timeline and Dan Brown's Angels & Demons." --Matt Scofield, a fan

"A killer of a thriller...settle in for a wild and captivating ride...a gritty, perfect-for-our-times, bestseller-quality novel. --Beverly J. Scott ~ Author of Jenafs Choice, Ruth Fever and Righteous Revenge http://www.beverlyjscott.com

A wild river ride of tension, intrigue and romance...Hang on--it's going to be a bumpy ride! Excellent read! --S.L. Bartlett, Silver Moon Magazine

Exciting and vivid. Tardiff's latest novel sweeps readers along into uncharted, wild Canadian territory. A thrilling adventure... --Christina Francine, Midwest Book Review

Tardif has...captivated readers...The River combines intrigue, science, love and adventure...sure to keep readers clamoring for more. --Heather Andrews Miller, Edmonton Sun
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Books, Book, Science Fiction, Canada, Time Travel, Wilderness, Canoeing, Nahanni River, Fountain Of Youth


ISBN-10: 1412062292
ISBN-13: 978-1412062299
Author: Cheryl Kaye Tardif
Publisher: Trafford Publishing

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