At the turn of the twentieth century, as the oppression of Russia's imperial rule takes its toll on Finland, the three Koski siblings - Ilmari, Matti and the politicized young Aino - are forced to flee. They settle among a community of Finns in Deep River - a town on the western edges of the United States. The brothers face the excitement and danger of pioneering this frontier wilderness. But while they are climbing and felling trees one-hundred metres high, Aino is organizing the country's fledgling labour movements.
As the Koskis strive to rebuild lives and families in an America in flux, they also try to hold fast to the traditions of a home they can never return to. And so the seasons change, the decades pass and the denizens of Deep River slip in and out of love; they become engineers and fishermen, midwives and widows, soldiers and fugitives.
In this profoundly moving epic Karl Marlantes masterfully depicts the tyranny of nascent America, the limits of human survival and the enduring might of family love.
Karl Marlantes graduated from Yale University, was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and served as a Marine in Vietnam, where he was awarded the Navy Cross, the Bronze Star, two Navy Commendation Medals for valor, two Purple Hearts and ten air medals. He now lives in Washington state.