Synopses & Reviews
A beloved character brings the power of the press to 1920s Butte, Montana, in this latest from the best storyteller of the West.
In the winter of 1920, a quirky bequest draws Morrie Morgan back to Butte, Montana, from a year-long honeymoon with his bride, Grace. But the mansion bestowed by a former boss upon the itinerant charmer, who debuted in Doig's bestselling The Whistling Season, promises to be less windfall than money pit. And the town itself, with its polyglot army of miners struggling to extricate themselves from the stranglehold of the ruthless Anaconda Copper Mining Company, seems like the couple's fast-diminishing finances on the verge of implosion.
These twin dilemmas catapult Morrie into his new career as editorialist for the Thunder, the fledgling union newspaper that dares to play David to Anaconda's Goliath. Amid the clatter of typewriters, the rumble of the printing presses, and a cast of unforgettable characters, Morrie puts his gift for word-slinging to work. As he pursues victory for the miners, he discovers that he is enmeshed in a deeply personal battle as well the struggle to win lasting love for himself.
Brilliantly capturing an America roaring into a new age, Sweet Thunder is another great tale from a classic American novelist.
"Butte, Montana in the 1920s meant Anaconda Copper Mining Company squeezing the town, its residents, and the land for everything they've got. Doig (The Bartender's Tale) brings back the charismatic Morrie Morgan, a walking encyclopedia prone to trouble last seen in 2010's Work Song, in this stirring tale of greed, corruption, and the power of past sins. After a yearlong honeymoon with his wife, Grace, Morgan and his new bride reluctantly return to Butte when they inherit one of the town's mansions, which they'll share with irascible librarian Sam Sandison. Recognizing Morgan's proficiency as a wordsmith, the union men who want to see Anaconda gone start an independent newspaper. Morgan pens the opinion column in the Thunder under the pseudonym Pluvius. But not only is Anaconda not going down without a fight the company's own paper, the Butte Daily Post, enlists famed Chicago reporter Cedric 'Cutlass' Cartwright to counter Pluvius Morgan's somewhat unsavory past comes back to haunt him, putting great strain on his marriage. Doig's attention to detail, both historical and concerning characters of his own creation, is as sharp as ever. Long-time fans will recognize familiar names from previous novels and readers both seasoned and new will fall under the spell of Doig's Big Sky Country. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"[A] marvelously atmospheric portrait of the bygone newspaper trade and an engaging cast of characters sketched with the author's customary vigor…welcome evidence that Doig, in his 70s, is more prolific and entertaining than ever." Kirkus
"Think Shane but with dueling journalists instead of gunfighters.…A stirring tale given a melancholic edge by the fading influence of print newspapers in our very different modern world." Booklist
About the Author
Ivan Doig was born in Montana and grew up along the Rocky Mountain Front, the dramatic landscape that has inspired much of his writing. A former ranch hand, newspaperman, and magazine editor, with a Ph.D. in history, Doig is the author of nine previous novels, most recently The Whistling Season and The Eleventh Man, and three works of nonfiction, including his classic first book, the memoir This House of Sky. He has been a National Book Award finalist and has received the Wallace Stegner Award, a Distinguished Achievement Award from the Western Literature Association, and multiple PNBA and MPBA Book Awards, among other honors. He lives in Seattle.