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On an icy night in October 1984, a Piper Navajo commuter plane carrying 9 passengers crashed in the remote wilderness of northern Alberta, killing 6 people. Four survived: the rookie pilot, a prominent politician, a cop, and the criminal he was escorting to face charges. Despite the poor weather, Erik Vogel, the 24-year-old pilot, was under intense pressure to fly--a situation not uncommon to pilots working for small airlines. Overworked and exhausted, he feared losing his job if he refused to fly. Larry Shaben, the author's father and Canada's first Muslim Cabinet Minister, was commuting home after a busy week at the Alberta Legislature. After Paul Archambault, a drifter wanted on an outstanding warrant, boarded the plane, rookie Constable Scott Deschamps decided, against RCMP regulations, to remove his handcuffs--a decision that profoundly impacted the men's survival. As they fought through the night to stay alive, the dividing lines of power, wealth and status were erased and each man was forced to confront the precious and limited nature of his existence. The survivors forged unlikely friendships and through them found strength and courage to rebuild their lives. Into the Abyss is a powerful narrative that combines in-depth reporting with sympathy and grace to explore how a single, tragic event can upset our assumptions and become a catalyst for transformation.

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Into the Abyss
Average rating
4.3 / 5
Yes, I would recommend this to a friend.
February 5th, 2014
A local setting written by a local auth or, enjoyed that part of it, would have liked a more in depth study of the relationship between the men.....tragic story
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1 review
Into The Abyss
February 2nd, 2014
A must read for all Albertans. A not so proud moment in time in Canadian aviation history, brought strangers together to inspire us all to live a mindful life and above all treasure our time on this amazing trip we call life..... Very grateful to Carol Shaben for sharing this incredible story.
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1 review
January 21st, 2014
Thoroughly researched, wonderfully composed, and a very personal telling of a very public episode in Canadian air travel history.
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1 review
Into the Abyss
November 21st, 2013
This was an amazing read and very well written. It made me laugh & cry and I had a hard time putting the book down.
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1 review

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