This Savage Race

Douglas C. Jones, Author Henry Holt & Company $23 (401p) ISBN 978-0-8050-2243-8
Enhancing his reputation as a superb raconteur, Jones ( The Search for Temperance Moon ), three-time winner of the Golden Spur Award for best western historical novel, tells a gritty, rollicking adventure story about one family's trek from St. Louis, Mo., to the untamed, hardscrabble Ozark Mountains. Without compromising his taut pacing and muscular prose, he also presents a marvelously dark comic vision of life in the Old West. The year is 1808, and the hero is Boone Fawley (his father, Noah, an escaped indentured servant, followed Daniel Boone for a while through the Kentucky wilderness). Boone has decided it's time to strike out on his own. Rather than follow the established westward trail to the Great Plains, however, Boone decides to head south to Arkansas, through dense forest and nearly impassable hill country. Hapless Boone is aided by his bright, equally stubborn Methodist wife, Molly; their children, John and Questor; and Chorine, Boone's sullen old-maid sister. Chorine, in turn, is followed by Clovis Reed, the gruff Scotch-Irish trader who's lost his heart to the plain spinster. Feuding traders, angry Indian tribes, and drastically difficult living conditions challenge them every step of the way. With this story of a common man's blundering quest for survival, Jones again (in his 15th novel) achieves the nearly impossible: he recreates the American West in a manner so fresh and compelling as to banish every Hollywood cliche. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1993
Release date: 06/01/1993
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-06-100770-5
Hardcover - 635 pages - 978-0-7862-0030-6
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