cover image Sweet Thunder

Sweet Thunder

Ivan Doig. Riverhead, $27.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-59448-734-7

Butte, Montana in the 1920s meant Anaconda Copper Mining Company squeezing the town, its residents, and the land for everything they've got. Doig (The Bartender's Tale) brings back the charismatic Morrie Morgan, a walking encyclopedia prone to trouble last seen in 2010's Work Song, in this stirring tale of greed, corruption, and the power of past sins. After a yearlong honeymoon with his wife, Grace, Morgan and his new bride reluctantly return to Butte when they inherit one of the town's mansions, which they'll share with irascible librarian Sam Sandison. Recognizing Morgan's proficiency as a wordsmith, the union men who want to see Anaconda gone start an independent newspaper. Morgan pens the opinion column in the Thunder under the pseudonym Pluvius. But not only is Anaconda not going down without a fight%E2%80%94the company's own paper, the Butte Daily Post, enlists famed Chicago reporter Cedric "Cutlass" Cartwright to counter Pluvius%E2%80%94Morgan's somewhat unsavory past comes back to haunt him, putting great strain on his marriage. Doig's attention to detail, both historical and concerning characters of his own creation, is as sharp as ever. Long-time fans will recognize familiar names from previous novels and readers both seasoned and new will fall under the spell of Doig's Big Sky Country. (Aug.)