Released on 13 February 2014.

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The Wind Is Not a River

3.73 based on 2509 ratings & 483 reviews on


A stunning tale of love and survival against all odds, for fans of Cold Mountain

April 1943. In the bloody turmoil of war, John Easley, a journalist mourning his lost brother, is driven to expose a hidden and growing conflict: the Japanese invasion and occupation of Alaska's Aleutian Islands. But when his plane is shot down he must either surrender or struggle to survive in a harsh wilderness.
Three thousand miles to the south, Helen Easley cannot accept her husband's disappearance-an absence that exposes her sheltered, untested life. Desperate to find and be reunited with him, she sets out on a remarkable journey from the safety of her Seattle home to the war in the north.
An evocative, richly atmospheric tale of life and death, commitment and sacrifice, The Wind Is Not a River, perfect for fans of Cold Mountain, is a gripping story of survival that illuminates the fragility of life and the fierce power of love.

'Beautifully written, lyrical and elegiac, The Wind Is Not A River is a novel you must read . . . John Easley's struggle to survive and his wife Helen's struggle to find him form the most triumphant and heartbreaking love story I've read in years' David Vann, author of LEGEND OF A SUICIDE

In the media

Payton has written a suspenseful, beautifully researched title that readers will want to devour in one sitting . . . Bravo!
Library Journal
Powerful . . . Payton keeps his prose taut so that nothing diverts the reader from the suspense of Easley and his compatriot's struggle to stay alive. You can hardly ask for a more gripping novelistic scenario.
National Post, Canada
During World War II, American soldiers stationed in the remote, windswept archipelago stretching for 1,100 miles west of the Alaskan mainland fought a secret war against Japanese invaders . . . In his gripping, meditative novel, Brian Payton explores this nearly forgotten chapter of American history . . . Stranded on Attu with the only other survivor of the crash, a young airman from Texas, [Easley] faces frostbite and starvation, not to mention the threat of capture by Japanese patrols . . .The borders between ingenuity and insanity, honor and murder, all blur as Easley comes face to face with the darkest parts of human nature in a place where "thin fog softens every edge and line." As the story opens out from Easley's desperate struggle for survival, Payton's larger theme emerges: People do what they have to do to survive, but what do they survive for? An act of kindness may be rewarded with death; inside every victory lies defeat. Sometimes circumstances force us to reimagine who we are and what we're capable of doing.
New York Times