Swans Commentary » swans.com March 27, 2006  



William T. Hathaway's Summer Snow


by Milo Clark


Book Review



Hathaway, William T.: Summer Snow, Avatar Publications, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, 2005, ISBN 0-9738442-3-X (paperback) - E-book (pdf): ISBN 0-9738442-4-8, Microsoft Reader: ISBN 0-97388442-5-6.


(Swans - March 27, 2006)  Summer Snow is a relatively simple novel crafted around universal themes: cross-cultural love, first loyalties, governmental duplicities, contemporary lists of nasties, and a chase in search of an errant nuke.

William T. Hathaway* is a very interesting man, too. Tested as a special operations warrior in Vietnam and Panama, he is now a strong anti-war activist. Daniela brightens his dark and dank German apartment. He wrote Summer Snow during a year-and-a-half in the country that forms his stage.

That stage is Kyrgyzstan, a central Asian relic of the defunct Soviet Union. History is very deep out there. Mountains and crags and roadless wilds dominate the landscape. The Silk Road that once connected Europe to the silks and spices of Asia passes through. For most of modern history, little of note to outsiders happened there.

Its strategic siting, however, presently commands a degree of attention from those so minded. It is centrally located in the great swath from Balkans to Bering Strait that undergirds Mother Russia. The Great Game has long been played across its fields.

Kyrgyzstan is on top of Afghanistan and provides funnels in and out of that troubled conglomerate of tribal allegiances so recently unknown to most Americans. The only bridge into northern Afghanistan leaves from Kyrgyz soil.

The Soviets had a number of missile silos in Kyrgyzstan. It is one leftover warhead that provides focus for Summer Snow's chase.

Add in one complexity to differentiate Summer Snow. The heroine, Cholpon, imbued with requisite dark-haired, dark-eyed exotic central Asian beauty is also a devotee of Djamila, an older woman and Shakya, head of an all woman order. Djamila has fashioned a fusion of Islamic Sufism, Hindu mysticism, and Transcendental Meditation (TM). Djamila knows how to save the world. Her women are both devoted and industrious.

Cholpon is, however, also a very modern woman with a bra that hooks in front. Needless to say, her bra holds myriad promises of delights most attractive to the American protagonist, Jeff. He is a battle-worn veteran of special operations, Vietnam and such, now retired somewhat. As a rather standard, densely-headed American, a bit on the "ugly" side, he needs some convincing that Djamila's version of TM will lead those who stole the nuke to give it back and go away quietly.

Government officials from Kyrgyz functionaries to American diplomats and military, including Jeff most of the time, are insensitive, undistinguished, and unaware of the games being played until, naturally, almost too late. The carnage is an undertaker's dream.

In the course of the novel, Jeff manages nearly to get killed several times. He is much cut up, battered, punctured, and shot in various non-lethal places of his battle-worn body. With amazing resilience, Jeff soldiers on through thick and thin, snow and ice, always tempting overwhelming odds.

There are interludes with Cholpon, naturally.

For those, such as myself, fascinated with Central Asia and its spiritual disciplines, Summer Snow is a compendium. The mix of Sufi, Hindu, and TM ideas takes some suspension of credulity at the start but then flows relatively seamlessly to the denouement.

Whether Jeff or Djamila wins Cholpon, whether TM or Delta Force returns the nuke to safe hands, whether Jeff gets "it" are questions better left to the reading of Summer Snow.

Happy days!


* Some of Hathaway's commentaries may also be found through SWANS.COM.


· · · · · ·
Hathaway, William T.: Summer Snow, Avatar Publications, St. Albert, Alberta, Canada, 2005, ISBN 0-9738442-3-X (paperback) - E-book (pdf): ISBN 0-9738442-4-8, Microsoft Reader: ISBN 0-97388442-5-6.

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/mgc180.html
Published March 27, 2006