Historical fiction of historical proportions. I can’t even find words to describe just how good this book is.
Thirty years after the Civil War’s Battle of the Wilderness left him maimed, Abel Truman has found his way to the edge of the continent, the rugged, majestic coast of Washington State, where he lives alone in a driftwood shack with his beloved dog. Wilderness is the story of Abel, now an old and ailing man, and his heroic final journey over the snowbound Olympic Mountains. It’s a quest he has little hope of completing but still must undertake to settle matters of the heart that predate even the horrors of the war.As Abel makes his way into the foothills, the violence he endures at the hands of two thugs who are after his dog is crosscut with his memories of the horrors of the war, the friends he lost, and the savagery he took part in and witnessed. And yet, darkness is cut by light, especially in the people who have touched his life-from Jane Dao-Ming Poole, the daughter of murdered Chinese immigrants, to Hypatia, an escaped slave who nursed him back to life, and finally to the unbearable memory of the wife and child he lost as a young man. Haunted by tragedy, loss, and unspeakable brutality, Abel has somehow managed to hold on to his humanity, finding way stations of kindness along his tortured and ultimately redemptive path.In its contrasts of light and dark, wild and tame, brutal and tender, and its attempts to reconcile a horrific war with the great evil it ended, Wilderness tells not only the moving tale of an unforgettable character, but a story about who we are as human beings, a people, and a nation. Lance Weller’s immensely impressive debut immediately places him among our most talented writers.
Abel’s story is so completely engrossing from start to finish. It so well written, deeply affecting and emotional. Humility and humanity taught at the hand’s of war. The author takes the time to delve deeply into the heart this character. We get to know Able better than he knows himself. We get to see the good in himself that he can’t. We get to see what he has lost and what he has gained, the latter of which, cannot be measured in material but in character. His trusty sidekick, a dog he loves, is an integral part of Able’s story.
The conflicts and horrific trials of the Civil War are not for the faint of heart. We are given a clear picture as seen through a soldiers eyes. We are introduced to the worst in people and also the best.
It is at times suspenseful, at other heartbreaking. I spent the last 10% of this book literally in tears.
No matter what genre you love to read, you will love this book!
This book was provided for review by Netgalley.