Summary and book reviews of Into the Savage Country by Shannon Burke

Into the Savage Country

by Shannon Burke

Into the Savage Country by Shannon Burke
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    Feb 2015, 272 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2016, 272 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs

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About this Book

Book Summary

An adventure which illuminating how extreme circumstances expose the truth about the natures of individual men and their bravery, loyalty, and friendship.

When young William Wyeth leaves St. Louis for a fur-trapping expedition, he nearly loses his life and quickly discovers the depth of loyalty among the men, who must depend on one another to survive. While convalescing, he falls in love with the proud Alene, a widow who may or may not wait for him. And on a wildly risky expedition into Crow territory, Wyeth finds himself unwittingly in the center of a deadly boundary dispute between Native American tribes, the British government, and American trapping brigades.

A classic adventure told with great suspense and literary flair, Into the Savage Country illuminates the ways in which extreme circumstances expose the truth about the natures of individual men and the surprising mechanics of their bravery, loyalty, and friendship.

Book One
The Voyage Out

I was twenty-two years old and feverish with the exploits of Smith and Ashley. I followed their accounts in the Gazette and the Intelligencer and calculated their returns and dreamed of their expeditions. The fur trade was warring and commerce and exploration, and above all else in my mind, it was adventure. But the trade was also notoriously unprofitable, a fool's errand—everyone knew that—and I'd resisted joining a brigade for more than a year.

St. Louis had five thousand inmates as I called them back then. The French lived on the north side, on the high ground. I was living on the south end at a boardinghouse—a withered old widow for a landlady. She made it hot for us, bawling at any racket or laughter and particularly at me for bringing bloody pelts back, which, it is true, she had reason to complain of.

On the morning this narration begins, June of 1826, an acquaintance named Blanchard appeared beneath my window, calling up to say he ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

BookBrowse

It's not hard to imagine Into a Sudden Country garnering the author many new fans. Given its fast pace and cinematic nature, it's sure to appeal to those looking for an action-packed historical fiction novel of the Old West. I found the book to be a fun, past-paced read, chock full of action-adventure sequences that kept me riveted. Yet the author manages to keep the characters and their exploits from becoming overly predictable or stereotypical, making this one of the more entertaining entries into the genre in recent years.   (Reviewed by Kim Kovacs).

Full Review (651 words).

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Media Reviews

Booklist

Steeped in Americana, this gritty testament to the fortunes and foibles of one man moves well beyond classic notions of romantic nationalism, revealing the complex core of a rapidly evolving environmental landscape.

Library Journal

There are no cowboys but plenty of Western landscapes, hardworking trappers, and native tribes. This satisfyingly complex portrayal of a Western reality doesn't need white or black hats to engage the reader.

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Burke's first venture into western fiction (after two novels set in the present, Safelight and Black Flies) is a masterpiece of historical accuracy and exciting storytelling.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. A grand immersion in the past.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Jedediah Strong Smith

Author Shannon Burke bases many of his characters and events in Into the Savage Country on the lives and adventures of real-life American frontiersmen and trappers, the most famous of whom is Jedediah Strong Smith.

Jedediah Strong Smith Smith was born on January 6, 1798 in Jericho, New York (now known as Bainbridge). The fourth of 12 children, he grew up hunting and trapping. His family relocated to Pennsylvania when he was 12, and moved from there to Northern Ohio sometime later. In addition to honing his outdoors skills, Smith learned to read and write.

He moved to Illinois around 1820 to practice farming, but apparently the life was too tame for him. He saw a newspaper ad posted by William Ashley, who was hiring 100 men to trap beaver along the ...

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