Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Based on a true incident of heroism in the history of the American West, this debut by a Washington, D.C., international trade attorney and former bureaucrat in the Clinton administration is an almost painfully gripping drama. A Philadelphia-born adventurer, frontiersman Hugh Glass goes to sea at age 16 and enjoys a charmed life, including several years under the flag of the pirate Jean Lafitte and almost a year as a prisoner of the Loup Pawnee Indians on the plains between the Platte and the Arkansas rivers. In 1822, at age 36, Glass escapes, finds his way to St. Louis and enters the employ of Capt. Andrew Henry, trapping along tributaries of the Missouri River. After surviving months of hardship and Indian attack, he falls victim to a grizzly bear. His throat nearly ripped out, scalp hanging loose and deep slashing wounds to his back, shoulder and thigh, Glass appears to be mortally wounded. Initially, Captain Henry refuses to abandon him and has him carried along the Grand River. Unfortunately, the terrain soon makes transporting Glass impossible. Even though his death seems certain, Henry details two men, a fugitive mercenary, John Fitzgerald, and young Jim Bridger (who lived to become a frontier hero) to stand watch and bury him. After several days, Fitzgerald sights hostile Indians. Taking Glass's rifle and tossing Bridger his knife, Fitzgerald flees with Bridget, leaving Glass. Enraged at being left alone and defenseless, Glass survives against all odds and embarks on a 3,000-mile-long vengeful pursuit of his ignominious betrayers. Told in simple expository language, this is a spellbinding tale of heroism and obsessive retribution. Agent, Tina Bennett, Janklow & Nesbitt. (July) Forecast: Punke's novel is already slated to become a Warner Bros. movie, which could mean big sales down the line. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Kirkus Book Review
A debut from Washington, D.C., attorney Punke describes the perilous adventures of a 19th-century frontiersman bent on revenge. Hugh Glass apparently anticipated Horace Greeley's advice about going west and growing up with the country, for that is precisely what he did. The son of a Philadelphia bricklayer, Glass became accustomed to living by his wits as a young man and during the War of 1812 made good money as a blockade-runner. Captured by Jean Lafitte's pirates, however, he was faced with the choice of switching sides or walking the plank. He switched. Eventually he fell into the hands of the Spanish, who tossed him ashore south of Galveston and told him to turn north and keep walking. In Missouri, Glass joined an expedition of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company and, in the novel, travels inland to trap and trade in what, 20 years after Lewis and Clark, is still largely uncharted territory. After being badly mauled by a grizzly bear, Hugh is left in the care of two comrades, John Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger, who quickly decide that he's a goner and not worth waiting for. They take his rifle and knife and abandon him to die alone. Miraculously, however, Glass not only survives but also manages to get back to St. Louis, even though he has to crawl much of the way. After he recuperates, his one thought is of revenge, and he sets out with all the tenacity of a good trapper to hunt down Fitzgerald and Bridger. Like any frontiersman, Hugh finds that he can't hope to survive, much less succeed, without the help of the Indians, and he soon acquires a knowledge of their ways and lore. Eventually, his former betrayers find themselves face to face with a Revenant-a man come back from the dead. A good adventure yarn, with plenty of historical atmosphere and local color.
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