Keith's Reviews > Thirteen Moons

Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
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Mar 04, 12


Will Cooper became an orphan at an early age. After his father drowned in a flood swollen river and his mother died of consumption he became the ward of his father’s brother but as was the custom of the time, he was soon indentured to a stranger and sent out on his own. Given a horse, a crudely drawn map and some advice about life, this twelve year old set out to make his way in the world---and make his way he did. As a “bound boy” it was his charge to set up a trading post in the unmapped Cherokee nation. By pluck, luck and the occasional kindness of strangers he managed to begin his solitary life and succeed against incredible odds. Due to his wit and sheer determination he was taken in by an appreciative Cherokee Chief and became a member of their clan. This story of life during the 1800’s is a wonderful journey of adventure, self-reliance, and pure grit. Seen through the eyes of Will as an old man at the beginning of the twentieth century, he looks back on his life as a self educated, country lawyer, senator, Confederate Colonel and Indian chief and sees nothing exemplary about it. He simply did what was required when the situation arose. He always does the best he can. The account of his passionate love affair with Claire, a woman that is interwoven throughout his life, is spellbinding and the characters that he meets along his path are so remarkable that you can’t stop thinking about them. The sense of time and place is astonishingly genuine and the language believable. Will and Bear, his adoptive Cherokee father, spend much of their time together exploring philosophy and their individual cultural approaches to life and one exchange that stands out for me as well as for Will, is Bear’s question---If you’re to die tomorrow, do you spend the time praising Creation or cursing God? I think that says it all. Fiction at its finest.
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