Deservedly a classic Feb 7, 2008
This classic of Kenneth Roberts is the second historical novel selected by John Jakes for his Library of Historical Fiction. That edition runs to 709 pages, so you are in for a long read. In 1936, with no TV, people had a different kind of mind, and they liked to sit with a book, and sit and sit. This one is worth every sitting moment, but you have to moderate your 21st century fever to get it read, and adapt to the style for which it was intented. Good -0h for us racers. Roberts has taken the very bare bones of an historical character and not only supplied some great flesh, he has created a relationship on which to hang his tale. Major Robert Rogers of the French and Indian War, founder of the US Army Rangers, leads and saves another enfleshed participant in this war we hardly know anything about. The young painter who idolizes Rogers is based loosely on an actual painter of the American West. Langdon Towne has to make his way not only through excruciating encounters with war and an unyielding wilderness, but with an unyielding mountain of disillusionment with his hero. It is his young wife--almost Dickensian in her sweetness--who recognizes the indomitable spirit in the fallen hero, and whispers the last words of the novel, "You can't kill what was in that man!"