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Set in past and present Alaska, The Cloud Atlas is narrated by a missionary who spent World War II chasing down one of Japans strangest weapons -- firebombs that silently crossed the Pacific, tethered to balloons. But it's the people he found who haunt him longer: a Yupik Eskimo woman, a shaman, a boy.

In 1944-45, Louis Belk was a soldier, not a missionary, dispatched to find and dispose of these improbable weapons -- Fu-Go weapons, or Japanese balloon bombs -- and then keep them secret from an already anxious public.

But the mysteries confronting Louis only increase when he meets his superior officer -- a brutal veteran OSS spy hunter who knows all too well what the balloons can do -- and a Yupik Eskimo woman who claims she can see the future. Chasing after the ghostly, floating weapons, Louis embarks upon an adventure that will lead him into the vast tundra, to a discovery and a choice that will change the course of his life.