The Wind is Not a River by Brian Payton

This new novel by Brian Payton is set in the Aleutian islands during World War II. Did you know that the Japanese army occupied several of these islands during the war? I didn't but I do now.

John Easley is a Canadian journalist who was on assignment in Alaska when he heard about the Japanese and the Aleutian Islands. He and his fellow journalists are sent back by the military who want to keep this part of the war under wraps. He decides to make his way back to see what exactly is going on. He cons his way onto a military plane as an observer from the Canadian Air Force and it crashes on the Japanese held island of Attu. John survives along with young Airman First class Karl Bitburg, a 19 or 20 year old from Texas who is trying to escape his life. John was rejected from the military because of medical issues, but his brother Warren was in the Canadian Air Force.

John and Helen parted on bad terms and she becomes obsessed with the idea of finding him. She knows he wanted to go back to Alaska but she doesn't know where he is. The newspapers don't really report what is going on in Alaska and her few inquiries have turned up no information. She decides to go find him by securing a job with a USO show that is heading to Alaska.

While Helen is trying to find John, John and Karl have moved into a cave to get out of the Alaskan weather. They are barely surviving but they haven't been found by the Japanese. 

The story line slowly spins out the life stories of John and Karl while in the background Helen is searching. The World War II history serves as a backdrop.  This is a wonderful book with an interesting story line that makes you want good things for the characters. You want John to survive and you want Helen to find him. This story is more than what happened in the Aleutian islands. It is about love, loss, redemption and growth and is a well-written great story.

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