WILDERNESS by Gerald Hausman


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 Native American expert Hausman and science-fiction maestro Zelazny team up to deliver a heart-pounding pair of interlocking yarns--fictionalized tributes to the fortitude, skill, and luck of two early mountain men, John Colter and Hugh Glass. Colter, trapped by a horde of Blackfoot braves in the Yellowstone region in 1808, is challenged by them to a footrace to the death; Glass, severely mauled by a bear in 1823 while hunting, is left for dead by his sidekick Jamie after a prolonged death- watch proves inconclusive. Thus the adventures begin, with Colter fleeing with no shoes from the Blackfeet while Glass comes to his senses and begins to crawl, on a broken leg and battered body, to civilization a hundred miles away. Colter evades recapture by feigning insanity, then plunges into a river logjam, where he sucks air from a knothole until searching Indians upset the balance of the jam, after which he escapes unseen into a tree. Glass proceeds inch by painful inch, starving and thirsting as he scrapes over barren terrain, always willing himself forward. Colter hides in a beaver lodge, then lures his pursuers into the nightmarish world of Yellowstone's thermal pools and vents that he knows well. He dodges arrows and deals with survivors of those foolhardy enough to enter his domain, then takes a last giant leap to freedom. Glass, meanwhile, regains the use of his leg and with the aid of a homemade crutch hobbles to safety, only to return swiftly to the mountains in search of the comrade who deserted him. Manly, masterly feats described in a breathless manner certain to appeal to hunters, trappers, and would-be adventurers in the wild--but mindlessly tedious for everyone else.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-85654-7
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1994


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