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THE RIVER by PETER HELLER: WALKING AN ADVENTURE TRAIL CUT BY THE MASTERS

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Adventure novels, at least the memorable ones like Peter Heller's THE RIVER, Take up a permanent home in our imagination. 
They rise up from a literary jungle of suspense, following a path cut by the best adventure books of all time.

Some of my earliest childhood friends helped to beat down this well-trodden path: Twain’s Huck Finn, Keene’s Nancy Drew, Crusoe’s Jim Hawkins, Kipling’s Mowgli, Uncas, the last son of the Mohicans, Gibson’s Old Yeller.

These heroes didn’t have to be my age or gender, or even human. I was as eager to sail across the ocean after a whale with Ishmael, as I was to traipse across London’s harsh and bitter Yukon with Buck, the regal sled dog.

The imaginary worlds I inhabited with these characters left me breathless. I slipped into their uncharted landscapes as easily as I slipped under my bed covers, book in hand, each evening.
The writing always spoke of darkness, and water, and of the relentless grip of the unknown, like this passage from Huck Finn:
“The…