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Unassigned territory
Kem Nunn
Adult Fiction NUNN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In this accomplished new novel that confirms the promise of Nunn's first book, Tapping the Source, he heat of the Mojave Desert not only curls the hairs on a driver's arm; it also makes the few isolated settlements tremendously lonely, the inhabitants rambunctious and vulgar, and faith a cross between beliefs that began long ago in another desert halfway across the world and kooky ideas about extraterrestrials as gods. Into this desert comes Obadiah Wheeler, a preacher trying to escape the Vietnam draft, who has been asked to lead a group of missionaries into this previously unassigned territory in barren Nevada. A man of shaky principles, he is separated from the sect elder and comes upon a ramshackle museum built around a manufactured space oddity. He encounters the trampy half-sister of the museum operator with whom he goes wandering among the desolate outposts while considering mysteries whose solution may yield either great truths or nonsense. Nunn writes with a keen portentousness about the warped people in this wasteland, creating what might be described as a western gothic. His examination of cultish thought is respectful, intriguing and funny, in a narrative that never loses dramatic momentum. (June 19). (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Obadiah Wheeler is a draft-dodger pretending to be a preacher. When he travels from Pomona to the Mojave Desert, he enters ``unassigned territory''an area so sparsely inhabited by members of his sect that it is open to evangelistic efforts. As with Conrad's Heart of Darkness , Nunn's title refers not just to a physical place but also to an uncharted realm of confused moral values. During his sojourn in the wildernessa blend of picaresque wandering and spiritual pilgrimageWheeler discovers some varieties of religious experience far more exotic than his own. He steals a fake monster, tries to sell it to a man named Dr. Verity, gets involved in four murders, and finds true love. Nunn's outlandish characters, though skillfully developed, are like sideshow freaks: they have the power to fascinate, but they are not always credible. Albert E. Wilhelm, English Dept., Tennessee Technological Univ., Cookeville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Obediah Wheeler
On his first recruiting mission; cult member.

Harlan Lowe
Obediah's mentor.
Cult leader

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