cover image Wilderness


Roger Zelazny, Gerald Hausman. Forge, $21.95 (304pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85654-0

The feats of two legendary ``mountain men'' are the subject of this unusual new western novel, a collaboration between science fiction author Zelazny ( Nine Princes in Amber ) and Hausman ( Tunkashila ), who usually writes about Native Americans. In 1808, explorer John Colter is forced to run for his life through what today is Yellowstone National Park, pursued by 700 Blackfeet Indians for 150 miles in a deadly game of cat and mouse. Fifteen years later, hunter Hugh Glass, left for dead after being mauled by a bear, manages to crawl more than 100 miles from the Grand Valley to civilization by the Missouri River. The narrative alternates between the two men's stories, which are linked by incredible feats of survival. (Only in the final chapter do we discover another bond between the protagonists.) With a force that pulls readers through the pages, the text plumbs their thoughts as they struggle against other humans and the environment; it also reveals the survival tricks learned from a lifetime in the West. Although the dialogue is often stilted, as is common in this genre, the tale remains compelling. (Feb.)