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Walking to Gatlinburg

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  589 ratings  ·  130 reviews
A stunning and lyrical Civil War thriller, Walking to Gatlinburg is a spellbinding story of survival, wilderness adventure, mystery, and love in the time of war.

Morgan Kinneson is both hunter and hunted.  The sharp-shooting 17-year-old from Kingdom County, Vermont, is determined to track down his brother Pilgrim, a doctor who has gone missing from the Union Army.  But firs
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 2nd 2010 by Shaye Areheart Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
 ·  589 ratings  ·  130 reviews

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Deborah Sloan
May 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Walking to Gatlinburg: A Novel
It is not often that a writer can successfully integrate the concept of language into writing a book. Howard Frank Mosher in Walking to Gatlinberg has not just one dialect (common English) in but 3 or more language dialects including that of the 1860 slaves and hidden from society hillbilly that people rarely are exposed to. I truly would give this book 4 1/2 stars just for the dialects alone. I loved it.

Seventeen year old Morgan Kinneson starts his journey from the
Todd Stockslager
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Morgan Kinneson, from Kingdom County, Vermont, does indeed walk to Gatlinburg and even deeper into the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee (but not to the North Carolina side--the water tastes bad there, a mountaineer tells him) during the last year of the Civil War. But this is neither a standard road story nor a Civil War story. It is more fable than historical fiction. It is odd, disconcerting, and elegiac--the closest comparison I can think of in terms of its journey, scope, and ...more
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
There are scores of books that I read and promptly forget about. Some, if I see the cover or read the title, I can remember a bit about. Others escape me completely: I can read a full description of the book and still not remember anything else about it. Howard Frank Mosher's books do not fall into the category of forgettable books. They are so beautifully strange and interesting. He's also a wonderful, lyrical writer. Walking to Gatlinburg is set during the Civil War, although, with the excepti ...more
Oct 30, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
This book was touted as "magical and wonderfully strange," but I'm afraid I only found it strange. I wanted so much to like it -- a thriller set in the Civil War with elements of the fantastic sounded right up my alley. After all, I loved The Terror, Dan Simmons' mixture of the fantastic and the historical. But the story in Walking to Gatlinburg simply could not engage my committed interest. Instead, I found the mixture of the realistic and the fantastic annoying and sometimes silly (really, an ...more
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historic-fiction
Because I am interested in Civil War historical fiction, I checked out the GRs reviews and downloaded it on my Kindle. (After reading Wild, I thought another walking adventure novel would be novel...)
At first, I was delighted with the author's use of 19th cy Yankee vernacular, story line and his beautiful descriptions of Northeast Kingdom Vermont, and the Quaker Underground RR. But, as 30% neared, the plot and sub plots became so confounded that I was eager to put it down, rather than finish it
Apr 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Though beautifully, creatively written, and though I couldn't put it down, this novel irritated me. It was labeled Civil War-era historical fiction, so I was eager to try it; but it was really more like a dark, almost mystical thriller. During the Civil War. The entire story meandered through such sordid, seedy settings and characters as to leave me feeling like the whole world is purely evil. And though I certainly liked the main character, his journey was so horrific and tragic that it almost ...more
Apr 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's rare recently
that I have a book in hand
that I want to slow down and savor
This a Civil War era thriller
but it's not about the war per se
When you read
keep the unabridged dictionary handy
It will increase your enjoyment
Better yet read it on a Kindle
The dictionary is built in
Jo Ann
Aug 25, 2010 rated it liked it
Beacause we were headed to Gatlinburg for a family reunion a few weeks ago, I chose to read this book last month, before the reunion...the premise was interesting and fun, and I tend to love books about the Civil War. Morgan, a 17 year old Quaker, tracks his brother Pilgrim, through NY, PA, Gettysburg, MD, West VA, KY, TN, and has a plethora of adventures along the way...I enjoyed it, but not as much as I anticipated I would.
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A well-written novel of the hero-takes-a-journey theme. I appreciated the many references to Homer’s Odyssey.
Would be a good book to share with a group, because there is much symbolism to consider——as well as actual symbols, the runes.
There were dragons to be slain —-represented by the five evil-doers.
Civil War mythology (States rights)was entertained and dispelled. Robert E Lee even made an appearance.
The Underground Railroad was present throughout the book—-in a unique way, and was central t
Christopher Hicks
May 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
I really liked the premise of this book...Morgan Kinneson, a young conductor on the Underground Railroad goes off on a quest during the Civil War to find his missing brother. There were three things that Mosher excelled at in this work:

1. Building characters -- A lot of times, novelists can get caught up in the characterization of their own protagonist, foregoing a better understanding of the supporting roles. Mosher, however, built a great cast of secondary characters, all connected to each oth
Pamela Batson
Jul 24, 2010 rated it liked it
I was a little disappointed with the ending. I would have liked more closer on some of the characters.
Feb 26, 2011 added it
really wanted to like this as historical fiction is one of my favorite genres but just didn't. the dialogue was really tedious and difficult to follow ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Why do Americans write so much about criss-crossing their country in search of something? The landscapes traversed here are dream-like, surreal and sometimes nightmarish.
Amy Kenney
Dec 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fantasy usually isn't my gig. Walking to Gatlinburg is not a fantasy book but it does offer scenes of the fanatical type which make this book engaging and endearing. A young teenage boy is on a walking journey to find his brother, who was believed to have died in Gettysburg. In his heart, the young man knows his brother lives. Following a path from Vermont to the Carolinas during the Civil War encourages wild characters and outlandish scenes. The trials of a boy to become a man are at almost eve ...more
Lisa Perkowski
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was one of the weirdest historical fiction Civil War novels I've ever read, yet I found it to be engaging and a wonderful adventure story. The strange and mythical adventure that Morgan undertakes trying to find his brother conjures up folkloreish characters and tales that remind you of the Odyssey or a long yarn by Mark Twain.
Fast paced with chapters that revolve around unique characters, then wrap up and move on to the next character, the book keeps you hooked until the very end. If you
Sheila Mulcahy
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a fantastic odyssey of heroic and monstrous proportions as a seventeen-year-old abolitionist leaves his Northern Kingdom home in pursuit of murdering, marauding escaped convicts across the northern and southern mountains while searching for his missing brother, a Union doctor. Episodes of adventure, survival, friendship, hunting and being hunted surround this coming-of-age story during the Civil War. Excellent writing that keeps the story taut, visceral and exciting. Four Stars
Donald Crane
Dec 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This book was certainly not predictable, but also was a bit disjointed and two-dimensional. With the author now dead, there will never be a Mosher book that quite measures up to A Stranger in the Kingdom, which was about as good as a novel can be. And unfortunately, all but the first few chapters takes place outside the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, which is where Mosher’s characters adeptly reflect the real characters that live here.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
An old-fashioned picaresque novel but grimmer than expected, centred as it is around the violent aftermath of the most violent war to rend this country. There were spots in this book where I was outright terrified. All in all, an unexpected firecracker of a read. See if you can spot the one editing blooper (hint: its in the caves).
Apr 19, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
The author uses a lot of big words that felt like he was trying harder to impress than to tell a good story. The introduction of the elephant in Civil War America was when I decided to throw in the towel.
Feb 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good, believable historical story. The people Morgan meets along the journey to find his brother are very interesting.
As with Chris, the ending hits you in the face but is acceptable.
Milo Geyelin
Sep 07, 2017 rated it it was ok
Disappointing after The River Flows North. Young adult fiction. Good as far as that goes but not for me.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this immensely. Great pacing, plotting, and use of language. Mosher's characters are richly created and absolutely come to life. It is a fantastic read. ...more
Feb 01, 2018 rated it liked it
A strange construction of a book to me. Staccato action scenes that are as far fetched as one could imagine; sometimes just weird.
Grant Ashley
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fanciful good read

This is a well written interesting tale, evoking the big questions of why the Civil War. I’d call it a page turner.
Deann Doolittle
Sep 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Little slow to begin with but eventually picked up pace. Good read.
Oct 08, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Have up

This book Walking to Gatlinburg by Howard Frank Mosher made no sense to me at all so I have up trying to read it.
Diana Poulin
Jan 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I was a bit disappointed with the story, I was expecting it to be more historical.
May 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
This author is just a beautiful writer.
Don Kathke
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Suspense, adventure, travel

This book has it all, suspense, travel, love, history, nature. A good family drama. The book got me through a few more days of COVID-19.
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, kindle
This story was a little crazy, to the point where I almost checked off the "fantasy" bookshelf. But I finished it. It was enjoyable. ...more
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Howard Frank Mosher was an American author. Over the course of his career, Mr. Mosher published 12 novels, two memoirs and countless essays and book reviews. In addition, his last work of fiction, points North will be published by St. Martin's press in the winter of 2018.

Mosher was a Guggenheim Fellow in 1979. A Stranger In the Kingdom won the New England Book Award for Fiction in 1991, and was l

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