*** Thirteen Moons By Charles Frazier
One man's 19th-century odyssey.
As he sits on his porch and observes signs of progress all around him, the aging Will Cooper reflects back on nearly nine decades of an event-filled life in the Great Smoky Mountains and environs. As a child before the Civil War, he becomes a runner for a trading post on the edge of the Cherokee Nation. Soon, a powerful tribal leader adopts him and the white Will meets the love of his life, Claire. He suffers with the tribe through the Trail of Tears; becomes a white Indian chief, lawyer, prosperous merchant, and state senator; fights Andrew Jackson's repressive Indian policies; and organizes a company of Cherokee soldiers for the Confederacy. Throughout this picaresque, Will maintains the vision of love that has kept him alive.
Random House. 422 pages. $26.95. ISBN: 0375509321
Denver Post ****
"No sophomore jinx here.... The beauty of Frazier's storytelling is in the telling. In Thirteen Moons, we are given the details of life in the wilderness in the early 19th century, its sounds and smells and tastes--even its recreation." TOM WALKER
"Frazier gives us a modest vessel for his meditations on history: one scheming, funny, learned, randy, highly imperfect human being.... Will tells us his life's story from the vantage point of old age, and one of the best things about the book is the voice Frazier finds for the old man as he looks back on his younger self." CLAIRE DEDERER
San Jose Mercury News *** 1/2
"In fact, the real love stories in Thirteen Moons are between Will and the Cherokee Indian who adopts him, between Will and his horse and, most of all, between Will and the mountains.... Like Frazier's debut book, it displays the same exceptional gift for immersing the reader in a bygone world, the same sly and luminous mastery of language, and the same recognition that both drunks and preachers are, at best, only human." CHARLES MATTHEWS
Charlotte Observer ***
"[Will] describes his resistance to the Removal, but also his complicity.... The book is at its best in these sections, fiction of the highest order. At times, however, Will's distance as a narrator undermines the immediacy of his story." RUTH ANN GRISSOM
New York Times ** 1/2
"Whereas the love story in Cold Mountain felt like a real romance between two real people, fleshed out in intimate psychological detail, the one in Thirteen Moons feels more like an authorial construct between his hero and a...