It's here, the much anticipated and long awaited new novel by the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It was originally scheduled to ship this time last year, but Chabon and his editor decided at the last minute to pull the plug and do a full rewrite. As with Chabon's last novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is brimming with invention. Conflating at least two genres -- the alternate history and the hard-boiled detective story -- his new work tells the story of Detective Landsman, Homicide, who works for the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, the "temporary" safe haven created for Jewish refugees after the 1948 collapse of Israel. The story is set on the eve of the district's reversion to Alaskan control, an event that is poised to plunge its populace -- and, ultimately, its readers -- into unknown territory. Chabon is at his strongest here, superbly crafting layer upon layer -- crime, detection, international politics, chess, sex and gender roles, religious intstitutions, psychological traumas resulting from family dramas, and more, each sliced so thin as to allow the layers below to remain visible with the design of each lining up perfectly with that of the layer below to create a brilliant pattern that ultimately reveals that solving the crime not only doesn't fix the problem, it's not meant to. History is a process without an end.