Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Thirteen Moons” as Want to Read:
Thirteen Moons
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Thirteen Moons

3.64  ·  Rating Details ·  9,575 Ratings  ·  1,453 Reviews
At the age of twelve, an orphan named Will Cooper is given a horse, a key, and a map and is sent on a journey through the uncharted wilderness of the Cherokee Nation. Will is a bound boy, obliged to run a remote Indian trading post. As he fulfills his lonesome duty, Will finds a father in Bear, a Cherokee chief, and is adopted by him and his people, developing relationship ...more
Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2006)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Thirteen Moons, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Scotty Charles Frazier is a VERY talented modern writer. I will not go into what I think about most of the idiots who critique books. Thirteen Moons is a…moreCharles Frazier is a VERY talented modern writer. I will not go into what I think about most of the idiots who critique books. Thirteen Moons is a delight to read. It's not as good as Cold Mountain in flow and character development, but it is still great. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 13, 2008 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I just wrote a lengthy review of this excellent book and apparently GoodReads was having server problems just as I was submitting it.

So...I don't have the stomach to type all that out again, so kindly believe me when I tell you that Thirteen Moons is a tremendous accomplishment, that the negative reviews stem from an apparent failure to realize that the novel is a narrative based on the life of the historical figure William Holland Thomas (his name has been changed to William Cooper in the
Katie Schmid
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erica Verrillo
Oct 20, 2012 Erica Verrillo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started this book, I felt some trepidation. I didn't think that Frazier could top Cold Mountain. As it turned out, he didn't have to. Will's story was a whole new world, one which completely captivated me. It's been months now since I finished the book, and I can still remember all the characters - Will, Claire, Bear - as vividly as if I'd known them for years.

Charles Frazier, whether or not you like his subject matter, has what all novelists strive for and what very few achieve: the abil
Oct 18, 2007 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient readers
Like Cold Mountain, this took me awhile to appreciate. But once I did, wow...there is so much beauty in words, landscape and life study to enjoy.

A sweeping epic of a man's life from the early 1800s to the end of the century in the American South, Frazier describes the harsh realities of a young and sometimes immature government as it expands its territory and faces its own human rights abuses. He does this through the life of Will Cooper, a bound boy on his own since his eleventh year and a man
A girl in one of my English classes last semester said of this book, "I always get sucked into that Appalachian shit." Frazier romanticizes the lifestyle and landscape of pre-urbanization America better than many writers, making it pretty easy to get 'sucked into that shit.'

However, I think he captured the fertile wonder of the natural world and its rhythms in his first novel, the well-known 'Cold Mountain,' than he does here. When he's at his best, his images of man living in nature can remind
Hansen Wendlandt
Aug 12, 2012 Hansen Wendlandt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I suppose this novel may be even more interesting for people familiar with the Appalachians or the natural life, but anyone can appreciate Frazier’s great characters, adventure, romance and occasionally sympathetic but ultimately realistic lament for the ‘progress’ of civilization over native culture. This is an entertaining story with great balance of action and depth, moving the many plots smoothly along without sacrificing any detail. He writes conversations masterfully, especially the great ...more
Mar 03, 2008 Stephani rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Set in NC Mountains during, before, and after the removal of the Native Americans, when land beyond the Mississippi was wilderness and Tennessee was considered "The West".
Protagonist: William Cooper, also narrator
Love: Claire Featherstone
Antagonist: Featherstone, Claire's father
Also: Bear, father figure and friend to Narrator

Language, Communication, Mistranslation
Brevity of youth, brevity of life
Life as suffering with only short reliefs
Loss of Identity

"The fleeting nature of our instant
Dec 26, 2007 Lauren rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of cowboys
In many ways, Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons reads like a homage to James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans, as well as a gratuitous appraisal of the birth and death of U.S. cowboy culture. The protagonist and narrator, Will Cooper, might as well be a long-lost relative of Natty Bumpo (whom he often references), a white man "going native" in a small community of Cherokee. The most interesting thing about the book is Frazier's research into the lives and particularly the multi-ethnicit ...more
Jun 24, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book after seeing it in the gift shop of the Museum of the Cherokee in Cherokke, NC. I have an interest in Native American writers and topics, as well as an interest in the history of the land surrounding the Smoky Mountains, a vacation spot my husband and I have visited frequently. Although fiction, Frazier took great pains to research the Cherokee people and their complex history with the land. Barbara Duncan, Education Director for the Museum, was one of his sources. It does NOT r ...more
Jul 13, 2016 Bandit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Appalachia, much like American history in general, will never be my subject of choice, but every so often an author comes along who makes it interesting and rewarding reading experience. Frazier has done so with Nightwoods and it was a reasonably good assumption that he might again, although technically this is in reverse chronological order. Alas, this book lacked Nightwoods succinct grace and subtlety and failed to make up for it in verbosity, being something like time and a half the size. Whi ...more
Paul (formerly known as Current)
Like Cold Mountain, this carefully written book covers a place and a time--weaving history into the fabric of its fiction--in a way that non-fiction cannot (and probably should not), bringing them to life. Whereas Cold Mountain is a story of epic quest modeled on the Odyssey with a love story as its major impetus, Thirteen Moons appears at first glance to be a biography told as the arc of a year's thirteen moons--birth to old age. Trapped by the teller in this story, his narration captures and m ...more
Grace Harwood
Jan 15, 2013 Grace Harwood rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I first started writing,an editor advised me that a writer should always "make every word work for its space in the manuscript; making every word count". I don't think I've achieved it with every single word I've ever written, probably not even in the one that's been published, but Charles Frazier does. Every single word counts towards making this one of the most beautiful, evocative historical novels I have ever read. The character I loved most was Waverley, Will's beloved horse. There is ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Don rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was completely captivated by Charles Frazier's inaugural novel, Cold Mountain. The journey of the protagonist, the elements of the time, the food, paths, war; I was very taken with the writing and the story. I happened to be traveling in the Carolinas at the time of reading Cold Mountain which I confess might have deepened the novel's impression on me. I was enamored of the prose. So, when recently perusing the my public library, my wife suggested Thirteen Moons, who was I to say no? Not I. I ...more
Aug 05, 2008 Julia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sad sacks, loney hearters, nostalgia fiends
Recommended to Julia by: No one; I picked it up off the shelf
This very long, very adjective-packed book is basically a study in heartbreak, and I would only reccommend it to those who like that sort of thing. The main character and narrator, one Will Cooper, has everything taken from him in his life, with the exception of money. That he seems to have a talent for accumulating (although in one chapter he looses that too, only to gain it again.) Everyone he loves is taken from him or voluntarily leaves, the homes that he knows don't hold any power over his ...more
Sara Steger
Dec 12, 2015 Sara Steger rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serious-fiction
Charles Frazier is a master of storytelling in the tradition of those ancient storytellers who recited their lore before camp fires and in public places. I can understand why he is at home with his subject matter in Thirteen Moons, as the lives of American indians were passed in just such a manner. Will Cooper bears witness to a sad and shameful period of history, but does so without sentimentality, blame, or the shirking of blame. Will, Claire, Featherstone and Bear emerge as three-dimensional ...more
Jan 04, 2008 Ngaire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm veering between three and four stars here, because I'm still not sure what I think about this book. I mean, it's so rambling and picaresque, and there's really no plot to it...and yet, there's just something about it that makes me kinda like it. I mean, just the descriptions alone are beautiful, and Frazier's heartbreaking account of Removal and war are so full of truth and despair and humor. It made me laugh that every second character who came to southern Appalachia (and by the way, it's p ...more
Amazing! I listened to this on audio and it was so good. If I could give it more stars, I would. It was beautifully written, I fell in love with the MC and found the narrator for this audio perfect. Very few books hit my "to re-read list" but this one is in, no doubt. I am a huge fan now of Charles Frazier.
Jun 14, 2011 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: almost-poetry
3 1/2 stars rounded up. 3 stars for story, 4 stars for writing style.

Charles Frazier's Thirteen Moons reads like a cross between Larry McMurtry and Louise Erdrich, leaning more towards McMurtry in plot and Erdrich in style.

The main character, Will, looks back over his colourful life in rambling fashion from the vantage of old age, beginning with being an orphan sent as a bound boy at the the age of 12 to run a remote store. Featuring prominently in his memories are Bear and Featherstone, two me
Sarita Rich
May 15, 2011 Sarita Rich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My dad gave me this book with lots of pages dogeared. I loved every page! I especially loved Frazier's descriptive style and how every time he detailed what what Will was eating, I wanted some too. Here's one of my favorite passages from when Will and Bear are in the winter house:

Day and night came not to signify. Our light was the fire. Smoke lay in a cloud above our heads, where it collected before going out the little hole. We kept housecat hours, sleeping three fourths of the day, and the r
Apr 18, 2011 Briynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I feel like I owe Charles Frazier a great big apology. First, I thought Cold Mountain looked like rubbish, only to find upon actually reading it that it was inspired. Then, out of nothing other than pure jealousy, I wrote him off as a one hit wonder and assumed that this book would most certainly be disappointing. It wasn't. So, Mr. Frazier, if you ever happen to find this review while Google-ing yourself, I'm sorry and regret my mental meanness. There. I feel better.

This was so lovely and so ef
Jun 30, 2009 Forrest rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction.
"Cold Mountain" was such an amazing work of literature, that pretty much anything Frazier followed up with was bound to suffer by comparison. But I think this book particularly fails to deliver on the promise of talent that Frazier showed in his first novel.

"Thirteen Moons" is the story of a man named Will. It is essentially his "autobiography," written as he is dying around the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. The plot is linear, moving from Will's childhood to his old age. An
Being from the Mountains of VA and being part Cherokee I was really excited about this book. Some of the narrative was very well done and I thoroughly enjoyed the views on nature and native American culture.
This book never really captivated my interest and I only got about 150 pages into it. Character development was sorely lacking and I'm not wasting anymore time on this thing.

In the past I would always slave on and just get through a book as fast as possible regardless of how much I h
This wasn't a bad book - in fact it was really beautifully written in so many ways. It was just slow. Not that I expect a twisting, turning plot for every book - I have read many books that I have loved with little or no plot at all - but I just felt that this needed it a little more. The description and the history, although fascinating, just weren't quite enough for me. I did find the whole history of the Removal of the Indians sad and shocking though. American history certainly isn't my forte ...more
I actually liked this book, despite Frazier's slow style of writing. It did take me a while to get into the story, but I remember that Cold Mountain was also slow starting, so I persevered. It also helps that I love this area of the world, so close to my beloved mountains in Rabun and Oconee Counties (Georgia and SC respectively).

This is a love story, and a history, both of which captured me. HAving said all that, it did take me a little while to sort out Featherstone and Bear...but I eventuall
Apr 20, 2008 J.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Thirteen Moons is the stuff of legend. It’s poetic fiction at its grandest, yet totally believable.

Will Cooper, a 12-year-old orphan, is given a horse, a key and a map and is sent off into the wilderness of the Cherokee Nation where he is to run an Indian trading post. A tough job at the time for a seasoned man and one would not expect a mere boy to survive for long. But this is no ordinary boy.

En route, he gets lost, has his horse stolen, runs afoul of strange characters, loses his coat and mon
Apr 30, 2014 Dean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m an audiobook fan, I feel the need to at least pretend to spend my windshield time constructively. I started to listen to Cold Mountain, but its read by the author, almost certainly the kiss of death for an audiobook. The reader, the author, was sooo boring, I couldn’t do it. I then aborted to Thirteen Moons. I’m not sure if that was a good decision or not. Thirteen Moons is probably not as good a Cold Mountain, at least by the reviews I’ve read, but it had a professional reader.

If I had to d
Oct 14, 2016 Kris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this in the car. It was read by Will Patton--and although I only wanted distraction--it became an extraordinary experience. What amazing eloquence of the writer. What a perfect pairing with the reader. Will Cooper was a character so real that at times I wanted to shake him by the throat--at other times I wanted to sit by his campfire and listen to him philosophize forever.
The CD version had the added atmosphere of lonely fiddle and haunting voices humming half-tunes that conjured u
Mar 30, 2015 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like these sort of classic fiction.
I came across this at a random thrift store that I had walked into just a week ago. It was twenty-five cents and shoved between a copy of Shakespeare poetry and a cookbook that looked as though it'd seen better days. Which it probably did. I bought a few other books beside it, but 'Thirteen Moons' was the first book that I decided to take a peek into.

It took me some time to get into the book. I'm typically a fan of lyrically beautiful novels and there were so many lines in this book that were i
Perrin Pring
Feb 28, 2015 Perrin Pring rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Overall, Thirteen Moons was pretty good. I think the novel's crowning achievement is Frazier's attention to historical detail. This book is incredibly well researched. Frazier gives you more details than you ever knew you needed, and they work. You are transported back to the American Frontier in the early 1800's.

While Thirteen Moons is detail heavy, it doesn't have too slow of a pace. I didn't race through it, but I didn't stall out half way through either. I always have a bit of a hard time s
Jenée Libby
Jan 30, 2014 Jenée Libby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I cried for 20 minutes when I finished Cold Mountain on my back porch at my shitty apartment back on Dooley Avenue in Richmond, VA. First, because I had finished the book and didn't want it to end. Second, because I couldn't believe it ended the way it did. Third, because I had never read such a deeply heartfelt love story in my young life. I felt like this man had grown up as a part of my family, researched my family tree, somehow acquired their voices, and then written a book about them.

Upon f
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Goodreads Librari...: Add cover 2 13 Feb 08, 2016 03:24PM  
Book Lovers Group...: Discuss Thirteen Moons (Sept 2014) 1 7 Aug 30, 2014 08:20AM  
lacrosse (Long Ball?) 3 19 Aug 11, 2014 06:35PM  
  • A Parchment of Leaves
  • In the Fall
  • Part Wild: One Woman's Journey with a Creature Caught Between the Worlds of Wolves and Dogs
  • Requiem by Fire: A Novel
  • Tom Bedlam
  • One Foot in Eden
  • On Agate Hill
  • The Living
  • Four Souls
  • Heyday
  • The Good Men
  • The Jump-Off Creek
  • A Sudden Country
  • A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape
  • Ghost Riders (Ballad, #7)
  • Stormy Weather
  • The White
  • Storming Heaven
Charles Frazier is an award-winning author of American historical fiction. His literary corpus, to date, is comprised of three New York Times best selling novels: Nightwoods (2011), Thirteen Moons (2006), and Cold Mountain (1997) - winner of the National Book Award for Fiction.

Librarian Note: There are multiple authors in the goodreads database with this name. more info here.
More about Charles Frazier...

Share This Book

“It is a bad idea to live too long. Few carry it off well.” 24 likes
“You never know when somebody will pull you to them.” 15 likes
More quotes…