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Item #: BK1621-583
IN A HIGH AND LONELY PLACE [Novel] Steven Voien 1992 1st ed Hardcover DJ Fine
By Voien, Steven
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New York, 1992. 553 pp. Hardcover with dust jacket. Fine.

Suspense fiction thriller. A snow leopard expert attempts to set up a National Park in Nepal, but bloodthirsty strangers and phantom aircraft hamper his research.

Voien juggles elements of a suspense thriller, exotic travelogue, love story and naturalist's log in an exhilarating first novel. American biologist David Trowbridge, the world's foremost expert on the snow leopard, wants to set up a national park in a remote northern corner of Nepal. But one member of his expedition, who may be a spy for the Indian government, has his own designs on the territory. Chinese expansionist policies also come into play.

David's romance with Nima, a young runaway from Katmandu who escaped her appointed role as the incarnation of a goddess, seems genuine; his guide, a lama's son named Norbu, seeks to avenge the death of his father from whom a golden statue of a dragon had been stolen. In Trowbridge's adventures, Voien ably fuses romantic subplots with realistic portrayals of endangered wildlife and of a native population similarly endangered by political and environmental change.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews
Suspense first novel set in the Himalayas, by a member of the Economic Section of the American Embassy in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. David Trowbridge, a biologist, wants to develop a national park and wildlife refuge in mountainous Lhakrinor, a region of Nepal. Poor Nepal, however, lies between India and China, both of which have designs on her and thus complicate Trowbridge's plan. First he must explore Lhakrinor to discover just what kind of wildlife still exists there, since the tribes have been denuding the mountains of trees and thus of grass and fodder for their dwindling herds.

We follow him through his difficulties with authorities, porters, and monsoons as he treks toward Lhakrinor, a truly remote (fictional) place. One of his porters turns out to be a former goddess, Nima, who has fled her abusive husband in Katmandu, and a cleanhanded but sexy romance grows between Trowbridge and Nima. Also close to him is Norbu, an all-knowing, all-purpose Sherpa, who is himself in flight from a vow to kill the Lhakrinor official who caused the murder of his father. The novel skirts its melodramatic underpinning and focuses on Trowbridge and Nima's tracking various snow leopards and wild herds of mountain bharal, a kind of heavily furred goat or blue sheep that can climb sheer faces to escape leopards.

The novel's power lies both in its fauna and in the brilliant wisdom of Norbu and the many tribesmen and lamas the team meets. The suspense element of an Indian colonel who pretends to be a pilgrim while mounting a Tibetan attack on the Red Chinese--an attack that must certainly fail but nonetheless will provoke hostilities between China and India--weaves neatly through the story without weakening its higher environmental philosophical aims. Impacted into the Himalayas, you track the pug marks and dung of great cats while the wind thrills up your back.


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