Email this review


Set in the Ohio Valley in 1794 against the background of the Wilkinson plot to separate Kentucky from the Union, this is a historical narrative of commonplace proportions. Its chief virtue is the fact that it is convincingly researched. The immediate action involves the hazardous journey by wagon train of the Kensal family from Virginia to Kentucky over the Alleghenies and down the treacherous Ohio River to Lexington. General Jared Kensal, though unsuccessful in his marriage to the spoiled Ardath, was a war hero and a financial wizard; he turns out to be a super woodsman too. His relationship with Ardath and his children is complicated by the fact that Kensal has agreed to help the beautiful Polly Blayden escape, with the family, from her English husband who is in league with Wilkinson. Throughout the trip the wagon train is beset by obstacles: impassable trails, torrential rivers, deserters, Indian attacks, but Kensal, like Moses, manages to lead his tribe through the wilderness. By the time they reach Kentucky Ardath has conveniently died, Blayden has been killed, the political conspiracy has been exposed and Polly and Kensal have fallen in love. But in remorse over Ardath's death they agree to part for a while and Kensal goes off to join ""Mad"" Anthony Wayne's Indian fighters. Gene Markey has written volumes of historical fiction which have never been accused of over-sensitiveness. That Far Paradise is mechanical, not outrageously unbelievable -- escape literature.

Publisher: David McKay