In 1903 a mysterious young woman flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widowand her husband's killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother's death. Responding to little more than the primitive fight for life, the widow retreats ever deeper into the wildernessand into the wilds of her own mindencountering an unforgettable cast of eccentrics along the way.
With the stunning prose and captivating mood of great works like Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain or early Cormac McCarthy, Gil Adamson's intoxicating debut novel weds a brilliant literary style to the gripping tale of one woman's desperate escape.
Mary Boulton's intense psychological transformation is augmented by Adamson's crystalline prose. Nothing is too minuscule for Adamson's notice: the mud at the bottom edge of Mary's hem, the glint in the brothers-in-laws' animal-like eyes, the color of the sky, the smell of the trees. Each sentence and paragraph is worth the contemplation of any great poem. The pacing is deliberate and perfect. Adamson's dark, yet delicate descriptions take this story from mere western escape story to a gothic fairytale. Mary's deepening madness, complete with hallucinated ghosts, plus the spare elements of romance, add to this perception. (Reviewed by Sarah Sacha Dollacker).
Entertainment Weekly - Missy Schwartz
A riveting tale of a woman's thirst for freedom. A-.
Starred Review. Lean prose, full-bodied characterization, memorable settings and scenes of hardship all lift this book above the pack.
Authentic historical details, a strong female character running for her life, and a murder-driven plot will appeal to fiction readers in all public libraries. Highly recommended.
A lovingly crafted novel.
Quill & Quire
There are plenty of improbabilities in The Outlander, and yet it’s a great read. Adamson is an impressive stylist who knows how to keep an unlikely story moving at a swift and graceful pace.
The Toronto Star - Philip Marchand
Hearty breakfasts or not, normal lovemaking or not, the novel remains Gothic in tone, with many of the limitations of that genre, including starkly drawn characterization. We must not expect multi-faceted personalities in trolls and goblins. Because of its strong narrative line, however, and Adamson's (for the most part) true poet's eye for metaphors and details that work, The Outlanders is a superior example of the genre.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Dr Neil ‘good ‘ doesn't do it justice I have read many books on a variety of subjects. This over~70 retired psychologist has found this read to be a rich and satisfying feast. A richness and depth in this novel from such a youthful looking writer. I await Gil Adamsons next masterpiece... Read More
Rated of 5
by Sue Satisfying I've always been intrigued by stories of women who pick up and run away from their everyday lives, often bringing nothing with them from their old lives but the clothes they are wearing. Anne Tyler's "Ladder of Years" is a favorite.... Read More
The Frank Slide
Most of The Outlander is fictional, but the slide at Frank, which
catastrophically plagues the closing third of the story, is based on the factual
landslide at Frank, Alberta in 1903.
Frank, Alberta was a small Canadian mining outpost that was inaugurated as a
town in 1901. On April 29, 1903, 74 million tons of limestone
slid from the top
of Turtle Mountain and blanketed nearly three-square kilometers of the
valley floor. The slide removed the entire top of Turtle Mountain, dammed the
Crowsnest River, which formed a lake, blocked the Canadian Pacific Railway,
buried seven houses and other buildings near Frank, obliterated the majority of
the mine's exterior infrastructure, and killed 70 people. Although some believed
that an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands and the town's subterranean mining
operation was to blame for the slide, it was later determined that Turtle
Mountain's unstable geological structure and the weather were the real culprits.
Research shows that 90% of Americans value public libraries(Dec 11 2013) According to a survey by the Pew Research Center, about 90% of Americans aged 16 and older said that the closing of their local public library would have an...