A Season of Fire and Ice by Lloyd Zimpel

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From the heartlands of the 1880s Upper Midwest comes a morality tale of survival and destiny told in the convincing language of a patriarch’s journal, evoking a real sense of the time and place. Gerhardt Praeger, a farmer of some education and plenty experience, understands the mixture of hard work, ingenuity, ethic, grace and steadiness of spirit needed to hold his settler family and neighboring community together while homesteading the hard territory of the Dakotas. He, along with his wife and seven sons, must constantly contend with natural disasters and manmade challenges to carve out their holdings in an unforgiving environment that has defeated so many of their neighbors, sending them home to their families back east. Praeger believes that God will provide sufficiently if not in abundance to those who can resist over-reaching. But a new neighbor, the bold Beidermann, who seems at times almost larger than life, stirs both his curiosity and envy, and tests Praeger’s moral beliefs. Between his remarkable journal entries that observe the increasingly tense events between them, is also a narrative that moves the everyone toward calamity. What results is an almost biblical story of moral imperatives and self-revelation, of man striving to civilize his own impulses along with the wild land.

About Lloyd Zimpel

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Lloyd Zimpel was born and raised in the Upper Midwest. He now lives in San Francisco, where for many years he worked for the California Fair Employment Practice Commission. He is the recipient of an NEA fiction fellowship and the author of a previous novel, Meeting the Bear, as well as numerous short stories.
Published May 1, 2006 by Unbridled Books. 238 pages
Genres: History, Action & Adventure, Literature & Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Westerns. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Zimpel's second novel (after 1971's Meeting the Bear) uses the Dakota Territories as the venue for the moral reckoning between traditional family ideals and independent capitalist survival.

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Historical Novel Society

Praeger’s young twins idolize Biedermann, but son Harris, goaded by jealousy, is suspected of poisoning the dogs and setting fire to Biedermann’s barn.

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