16 May 2012

Book Review: FIRST DESCENT by Pam Withers

Rex Scruggs feels more at home out on the river with his kayak than anywhere else.  He’s grown up in the shadow of his famous grandfather, Malcolm Scruggs, who was well-known for being the first to conquer several South American rivers.  Rex dreams of making a name for himself and carrying on his grandfather’s legacy by being the first to paddle down El Furioso, the one river Malcolm never completed.  The river proves itself to be a formidable opponent, but the class V rapids aren’t the greatest danger Rex will face.  As he grows close to Myriam Calambás, the native girl who agreed to be his guide on the river and who dreams of becoming a reporter so that she can tell the world about her families’ struggles, Rex gets caught up in the political struggle that she and the other indígenas face every day.  Struggling to maintain their independence and neutrality in the middle of a struggle between the paramilitaries and the guerillas who want to claim the land for their own use, Myriam’s people face daily threats to their lives, and Rex is soon caught in the middle of a war he didn’t ask to fight. 

Withers tells spine-tingling, adrenaline-pumping, action-packed story of finding your place in the world, even against impossible odds.  I wasn't sure about this book when I picked it up. Action/adventure books aren't usually my thing. But I was pleasantly surprised. Rex and Myriam are such strong characters that I felt like I was living the story with them, and I couldn't put it down!

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