Author Bill Varner Takes on the Ciphers of Newly-Minted East European Capitalism

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Rich in detail, weighted with a mandarin’s insight, “Gateway to the East” is one good read.

On a strange, enchanting business weekend in Prague, the novel Gateway to the East starts. William, an American businessman dealing in lumber, is wheeling and dealing with Petr, a Czech he’s partnered-up with. They plan to strategically poise their burgeoning partnership (both have taken on partners, both secret and known) to penetrate the booming manufacturies of Siberian Russia.

William gets to take in all the historically-rich offerings of the medieval jewel on the Vltava River with Elena, herself a cipher of the Slavic mysteries. Bill Varner works on the details of place and time to, like the lumber that William deals in, provide strong, straight and smooth prose carefully jointed and put together. This book is atypical of what people would expect from a novel of the former Communist bloc post-Perestroika. But here it all is. The readers breathes in atmosphere, taking in Prague, Cazlav, Irkutsk and other such places exotic to the open-faced, hearty southern American lumberman.

It is very near the end of the second millennia. George W. Bush seems to be bringing in a cloud of doom with his upcoming administration. William and company go on wheeling and dealing, going into the oil business and meeting up with Palestinians, Saudis, Iraqis…and suddenly William’s business is declared bankrupt through a technicality in a Carolina court. Things have so far coasted on an undercurrent of the ominous (or mysterious). At this point the reader realizes that the book has gained heft, starts to see the complex woodworks of a house half-built.

Varner writes with a prose that is as wide and easy-going as Texas. Strangely enough, it jibes with the Oriental spirit of Eastern Europe and points south and east. What will happen to William and his rough-hewn partnerships as the curtains continue to unfold? The vista is wide open and the panorama holds excitement, drama and romance as Varner continues with the tour.

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About the Author
Bill Varner was born in 1951 in a small town in central North Carolina. He was raised on a small farm, but since times were hard, both of his parents worked in town during the week. After saving enough money to go to college when he graduated from High School, he graduated from North Carolina State University. With his degree from college, he joined the US State Department in Washington, D.C. and worked there for three to four years during the tenure of Henry Kissinger. After his stint in Washington, he went back to North Carolina and started a lumber business which he ran for approximately twenty years. The major emphasis of his business shifted to import-export about ten years ago and as a result moved to his new home at Charleston, South Carolina. This had been a dream since he visited the town as a teenager. He has a wonderful family that includes nine grandchildren.

Gateway to the East * by Bill Varner
Publication Date: October 17, 2011
Trade Paperback; $23.99; 482 pages; 978-1-4653-7532-2
Trade Hardback; $34.99; 482 pages; 978-1-4653-7533-9
eBook; $9.99; 978-1-4653-7534-6

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