An immensely entertaining and eventful return engagement for Nathan Blaylock, Wyatt Earp's bastard son, and Jim Riley, his hard- bitten partner, in turn-of-the-century Alaska and environs. In the grand yarn that introduced the pair (The Winter Wolf, 1996), Nate, whose Chinese lover died in childbirth, loses track of the son she left behind. Here, we find him on the trail to Dawson in Canada's Yukon Territory, in search of his son. Youthful Nathan and sidekick Riley, an aging gunslinger, sign on as contract hunters for a trading post being built on Alaska's Tanana River. Obliged to move on quickly after the owner's wife seduces the straight-shooting Nate, they wander in the northern wilderness, eventually joining forces with Edward Dickinson, a gentleman spy on assignment for President Teddy Roosevelt. The Harvard-educated operative's mission is to provide arms to fiery Marta Kelly (a lissome Panamanian patriot eager to free her Central American land from Colombia) so the US will encounter a minimum of resistance to its plan to build a canal across the isthmus. By happy coincidence, the modern bolt-action rifles sought by Dickinson are stored in a Dawson arsenal controlled by the British. Surviving many perils on the frozen wastes of the Alaskan interior, the foursome comes within reach of its goal. Along the way, Nate is reunited with his son while Doc Hennison (a one-armed bandit who sells homemade liquor to local Indians), Charley Many Hats (his star salesman), and a she-wolf that takes a shine to Nathan join the party. At the 11th hour, a villainous Englishman willing to use Nate's child as a bargaining chip blocks the way to the gallant band's objective, forcing them to call upon their collective courage and cunning to surmount this last, deadly obstacle. An engaging follow-up to the splendid Winter Wolf--and what fans of frontier derring-do will hope is a lengthy series.