Reviews and Comments

Nov 2008

Dr. Ulrich Knittel - vulkanismus.de (German)

After learning from the movie 'Supervolcano' that Yellowstone Park is actually a gigantic volcano, we can here read about a quite different scenario for an eruption of this volcano. While the movie told the story from the perspective of the park geologists and FEMA, in the present story the official agency do not play a leasing role, in part due to incompetence, in part due to lack of funding and hence, lack of manpower.

The story starts with an eruption of lamproites in the south of Wyoming. The choice of such an exotic eruption product, which in cases may even contain diamonds (!), already shows that the author is very familiar with his subject. But only the story's hero, Sam Westone, and later also an old prospector and some geophysicists, have some clues as to the significance oif the event.

And so the story unfolds. There are more ominous signs of coming geological activity, but unrest at supervolcanoes is a common feature that usually passes without an eruption. However Westone and a few colleagues are worried. And so the story evolves into a race between geological forces and the Westone to alarm the public.

The detailed presentation of the problems related to the question, when to pronounce a public warning, in particular, if that has enormous economic consequences and the questions related to the possibilities and responsibilities of a single person when public agencies do not react, give the book a dimension beyond pure entertainment. The tragedy of Nevado del Ruiz in Columbia come to mind, where foreign experts clearly warned of an impending disaster, while the disaster agencies do not react (see for example: 'No apparent danger' by Victoria Bruce).

The book contains a lot of geological jargon, but this makes it rather authentic. The authors have chosen that the hero, Sam Westone, involves his students in his research and besides that, he also has to educate the TV reporter Liddy about geology, hence the reader obtains enough background information. If this is not enough, there is even a glossary.

The writer of this review has to admit that he thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. There are virtually no factual errors* (little wonder, one of the authors is an experienced geologist) and the hero, Sam Westone, is almost too good to be true, but the happenings are presented in a lively and authentic way. If you like science 'thrillers', this book is a must!

May 2003

Angie Many (Editor / Publisher) - May/June 2003 issue of Resource Roundup (P.O. Box 790, Spearfish, SD 57783, www.resourceroundup.org)

Here in the Intermountain West, we tend to think we are safer than the rest of the country, which worries about terrorist attacks and war strikes aimed at major coastal cities. But are we really more secure? Wyomingites Wayne and Judy Sutherland have recently published Yellowstone Farewell, a novel which blends geologic facts with fiction to make readers realize that we may be sitting on a virtual bomb here in the West.

I have never attempted to review a book before, but when the Sutherlands asked me to read their book and let Resource Roundup readers know if I enjoyed it, I agreed. The novel draws extensively on Wayne's knowledge and experience as a geologist and on the couple's wide range of outdoor activities, including caving, hiking, skiing, rock hounding, and more. The story centers on the geology of Wyoming and, in particular, on unusual geologic activity in the Yellowstone area.

I remember reading years ago that Yellowstone erupts every 600,000 to 1.2 million years or so in manners that devastate the region and have worldwide impacts. The Sutherlands' characters work feverishly to discover if the increased geologic activity is a herald of disaster to come or, as state bureaucracies insist, just normal little blips in the region's volcanic history.

Those familiar with Wyoming will recognize the places and features described in the book, and the authors' knowledge of the state and its terrain and culture add to the book's interest. Anyone interested in geology will enjoy soaking up Wayne's knowledge. The writing style was not as appealing as in other books that I have read, and there was so much geology in the first two chapters that I struggled through them, but after those first two chapters, the technical knowledge was imparted at a rate that made it easier for me to grasp.

The story itself is extremely interesting, and the farther I got into the book, the more I hesitated to put it down. The reader will really want to find out what happens at the end, whether the main character (who is publicly ridiculed for his beliefs) could possibly be right and if so, what the consequences will be to the West and the world.

Wayne Sutherland has worked in Wyoming, Montana and Utah, and his training and experience include gold and other metals, diamonds, coal, oil and gas, and industrial minerals, as well as mining claim evaluation and federal mineral regulations. If you're interested in geology, Yellowstone, and the problems that can be caused by the self-interest of bureaucracies, you may really enjoy this book.

Readers' Comments

A fun read!

Sam and Liddy's story is told with sensitivity and good taste.

Neat story, but I didn't tell some of my older neighbors about it because I didn't want to scare them.

The book is upbeat and uplifting, rather than depressing like so many books are these days.

Great book; great love story.... I have read it three times!

This story is the perfect blend of fact and fiction.

Not enough sex and violence [essentially none].

The story really "moves" and keeps the readers interest.

I want to congratulate both of you for an excellent geology/ham radio novel.

The story and characters have the flavor of Wyoming.

Thanks for writing a book that is both entertaining and educational.

I lent my book to a friend who is an expert geologist, and he said it was technically correct.

I enjoy reading when I learn something along the way.

When did this happen? I don't remember hearing about it on the news. Oh, that's right, this is fiction.

Very enjoyable and easy reading.

I recognize a lot of places (in the book). I love reading stories about places I'm familiar with.

I never before realized that amateur radio was so useful in emergency situations. What do I need to do to become a ham radio operator?

Thank you for your book. I learned a lot about a lot of things, aside from pure enjoyment.

What are the chances of this happening any time soon?

I really like your character development and their interactions.

Wow! What an ending!

I kind of got bogged down with the geology in the first two chapters, but really enjoyed it as the story took off.

Great work! Bought it at the Casper hamfest last year, started reading during the evening there and couldn't stop till finished!

The book feels like Wyoming.

Readings from the book induced enthusiasm for geology in several high school classes.

Sincerely encourage you folks to screen-script your story.

An exciting story; when I got toward the end, I couldn't stop 'til I finished it.

That gold near South Pass... I know exactly where you're talking about!

This would make a great movie!

There is an underlying tension or suspense that made me keep on reading to the end.

BRAVO - BRAVO!! ----You must let the world experience the feelings I experienced!!

I hope you're writing another book. When is the sequel coming out?

Great overall story, great love story!

I just finished reading "Yellowstone Farewell" and I want to thank you for taking the time to write this book, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I appreciate reading a real love story that isn't degraded by explicit sexual descriptions.

I'm near the end of the book and enjoy reading it. I'm reading just a little bit at a time because I don't want it to end.

Congratulations to you both on a well written book.

Great conservative book with Christian characters.

Have you sold the movie rights yet?

Yellowstone Farewell is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It's fantastic!

I just finished reading "Yellowstone Farewell". Wow!

Okay, you guys owe me a couple of nights worth of sleep. It was tough to put down; definitely a page turner! Thanks for writing such a captivating "thinking-person's-tale" about geology and Wyoming (and ham radio).

Once I started, I couldn't put it down!

Great book! Great read!

The actions and places have a common feeling to them, like home.

I have just finished reading "Yellowstone Farewell" and wish to tell you how much I really enjoyed it!

I especially enjoyed the relationship between Sam and Liddy - very well done.

Yours is a "Can't put me down" novel. Harry Potter could move over for your "Place in Time".

Thanks for the great literary work - how 'bout another?

That (Yellowstone Farewell) was the most exciting, educational, and awesome book!

The more I read and listened to what was written, the more fascinated I got!

I thought the Yellowstone cataclysm was very exciting and plausible geologically.

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