This story is short, so be aware of the price you're paying. I paid $5.99 for it, and I'm still not sure if I regret the price or not. It's only 153 pages, after all. If that doesn't bother you, pick this up. I read it after seeing the film of the same name in theaters, starring Liam Neeson and Dermott Mulroney.
The story is engaging and briskly paced. You're knee-deep in the action right off the bat, and you stay that way through to the end. Character development is fulfilling without being mushy, and you feel the terror and desperation of the characters. Action sequences have a whip-crack urgency that most short stories lack, and the author doesn't linger over the gory details. Jeffers shows an obvious talent for capturing the drive and intensity of a short story.
John Ottway, a hunter who protects oil-rig workers from the threat of wildlife in Alaska, is on a plane headed home when it goes down in the wilderness. The men who survive the crash fight for survival when they realize there will be no immediate, and possibly not even an eventual, rescue. Temperatures are below freezing and they are quickly set upon by a pack of man-eating wolves, who latch on and won't let go. This is a survival story in it's purest sense. These men must try to survive as their numbers rapidly dwindle. They tell stories of their families, question God, and work together to get out of Alaska alive. Ottway recites a piece of poetry that gave me chills, one his father wrote that suits their very grave situation:
'Once more into the fray...
Into the last good fight I'll ever know.
Live and die on this day...
Live and die on this day...'
The story itself garners an excellent review easily. I have several reasons that make me first, regret the price I paid and, second, consider the book to be just 'good.' Mostly to blame are the God-awful punctuation habits of the author. The author digs commas in a big way and uses them every few words. Every time I see a comma I pause in my reading like I should and if there are too many damned commas it makes the story very stilted.
It also bears mentioning that there are multiple, multiple I tell you, typos in this edition. With a heavier editorial hand, the story would be easier to read. At a much lower price, purchasing it would be easier to handle for the old wallet, too. The Grey is available from Amazon.
See You Friday!
NOTE: I don't want to hear about wolf conservation. This story and the film it inspired had nothing to do with that issue.