This reads with the authentic regional sound of a folk song recorded by Lomax. Indeed, the stories of Mooney Wright and his neighbors settling the North Carolina Smokies are the stuff of ballads; the bear hunts, the cruel winters, old Tinkler Harrison and his child bride living out a dream of kingship. Mooney was first in 1779. He had ""An axe. And an auger. A knife."" and the will as well as the know-how of a frontiersman. The first winter and the deprivations took his wife. His will was buried with her for a while, but it returned with the coming of Tinkler Harrison and his encourage. This included a daughter, Lorry, who had been deserted by her handsome, reckless husband who had left her with two boys. Mooney takes them for his own and the author builds a community and family on his pages with all the absorbing day-to-day details of the work and lives of the people who settle. Harrison had arrived complete with stock and slaves. His improvident brother-in-law, Plover, soon followed with a tribe of tow-headed daughters, and so the isolated settlement grew. Continually challenged by the elements and the intricate human relationships of an interdependent community, Mooney must also face the test that the return of Lorry's husband brings. This is a full novel of birth, death, laughter and sadness spun out by a storyteller with a rare ability to convey ""the way it must have been.