The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans
rating: 3 of 5 stars
Pub. Date: July 2002
Synopsis: The fire that was to change so many lives so utterly started with a single shaft of lightning. It struck a mountain ridge on a still and moonless night and nestled like a pupa of death in the desiccated heart of an ancient pine. There were witnesses no doubt to this sudden splintering of air and wood, but none that was human. The woman, camped nearby with her group of troubled teenagers, slept on and heard nothing.
She has brought them here by court order on a youth program to help them find themselves. But one among them will be lost forever. For soon the cocoon of fire will hatch to engulf the entire mountain and exact its deadly toll. And into this inferno will come ... The Smoke Jumper.
His name is Connor Ford and he falls like an angel of mercy from the sky, braving the flames to save the woman he loves but knows he cannot have. For Julia Bishop is the partner of his closest friend, Ed Tully, an ambitious young musician. Julia loves them both but the tragedy on Snake Mountain forces her to choose between them and burns a brand on all their hearts.
With his blond, blue-eyed looks and laconic cowboy charm, Connor is the only child of a Montana rancher and a rodeo queen. Until that fateful day, he has been happy to spend his winters nurturing a career as a photographer and his summer vacations with Ed, "smoke jumping" — being dropped by parachute to fight remote forest fires.
In the wake of the fire, he embarks on a journey to the dark heart of human suffering, traveling the world's worst wars and disasters to take photographs that find him fame but never happiness. Reckless of a life he no longer wants, again and again he dares death to take him, until another fateful day on another continent, he must walk through fire once more....
The Divide by Nicholas Evans
Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult