Trail

Louis Charbonneau, Author Doubleday Books $22.95 (506p) ISBN 978-0-385-24211-0
This competent but uninspired historical novel (Charbonneau's 17th book) follows the famous 1904-06 expedition up the Missouri River, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and down the Columbia River to the Pacific. As sources Charbonneau uses the journals of Lewis and Clark and others, veering away from fact only to provide fictional journal entries of George Shannon, a young recruit to the ``cause'' of the expedition, and frequent detailed passages written from the point of view of Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman--who offers the only respite from a rather dry rendition of the journey. In fact, Seaman emerges as one of the novel's few convincing characters, along with Sacajawea, a pregnant young Indian woman, and her white husband (oddly, named Charbonneau), both of whom join the party as interpreters. Lewis and Clark remain nearly indistinguishable as characters. Charbonneau's straightforward style and attention to the details of the historic trek carry but do not propel us through the hefty book. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1989
Release date: 09/01/1989
MP3 CD - 978-1-5366-3211-8
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