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Thirty years ago, Abel Truman found himself on the wrong side in the Battle of the Wilderness, one of the bloodiest clashes of the American Civil War. Its aftermath took him to the edge of the continent, the rugged coast of Washington State, where he has made his home in a driftwood shack with his beloved dog, waiting for the scars of war to heal. Now an old and ailing man, Abel must make one heroic final journey over the snowbound Olympic Mountains. It's a quest he has little hope of completing but must still undertake to settle matters of the heart that predate even the horrors of the war. But as Abel sets out, violence follows him in the shape of the memories of those he has lost, and the savagery he took part in and witnessed, as well as two men who are darkly tenacious in their pursuit. Hypatia is a slave whose freedom comes at a terrible price, and who finds herself walking unwittingly into the hellish heart of the Wilderness. Ellen is a white woman, married to a black man at a time that is as dangerous as it is unforgiving. And Jane is a young Chinese girl, who is newly, cruelly orphaned, and clinging on to life. Abel's tortured and ultimately redemptive path leads him to each of them as he encounters compassion amid brutality and tenderness within loss.
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Lance Weller has published short fiction in several literary journals. He won Glimmer Train's Short Story Award for New Writers and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. A Washington native, he has hiked and camped extensively in the landscape he describes. He lives in Gig Harbor, WA, with his wife and several dogs.Review:
What's most gorgeous here is the language, Weller's descriptions of the natural world, the changing emotional terrain within his characters, and violence. The author seems to be reminding us that the Wilderness remains both without and within. A remarkable debut, deeply affecting and heartfelt * Gil Adamson, author of The Outlander * Epic ...There is much to savour in this big, bold debut, including Weller's splendid descriptions of wildlife encountered in the trek ...This is a novel in which history's sound and fury is drowned out at last by the silence of the wilderness * Financial Times * This portrait of a life is built up masterfully by Weller, in his debut novel, into a compassionate tale ... There is lots of great, descriptive landscape writing here, and all the flashbacks to the war are rendered in just as much evocative detail. It's a beautiful novel, resplendent in ornate, flowing prose * Herald * An American Civil War epic for fans of Cold Mountain ... Traumatising, character-driven and written with serious literary intent * We Love This Book *
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