**This is a sweeping story which mounts in dread and absorbs the reader completely. It won great critical acclaim when it was first published in Holland in 1955. Artful contrasts buttress the dramatic strength of the tale. In the Alpine village of sturdy farmhouses at Urteli lived Werner Altshank, son of the school master. Dread mounted daily as snow fell steadily, unceasingly. Finally broadcasts warned of avalanches. Werner and his father ventured above the village to rescue a group from Pestalozzi Village, a community of orphans, where Werner saved the live of Paolo, an Italian boy. And that night, when they seemed to be safe at home, it happened. Urteli was buried beneath an avalanche. Though Werner was rescued, his father and mother were presumed lost. Evacuation by train brought further hazards. En route to Brachen there are further avalanches. There Werner learns that his own parents have been rescued, but his elation flags when Klaus, a refugee from another hamlet, Velgretto, tells of the avalanche which buried his home. Werner, Klaus and Paolo set forth to try to dig out Klaus' father, mother and sister, Marie. Marie is saved but the boy's mother and father are dead. With Werner the reader fears and hopes and searches -- and listens to the echo of an avalanche along the length of a valley. With him, one feels dwarfed by the mountains and the dropping white death which shrouds the villagers. One of the season's best.