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An old Civil War veteran's courageous struggle to rescue a faithful companion changes the lives of everyone he meets in Lance Weller's debut novel, Wilderness.
In 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness Abel Truman lost the use of one arm, and the brutality and loss he witnessed hurt enough to send him fleeing to the Pacific Northwest, where he hoped to forget the war as well as the tragic loss of his wife and child. Thirty-five years later, living alone in a remote shack, Abel has achieved a measure of peace in his old age--until a pair of dangerous thugs beat him nearly to death and steal his beloved dog, Buster, for a dog-fighting circuit. Despite his wounds, Abel follows his attackers into the Olympic Mountains, unwilling to leave Buster to such a fate. Over the course of his travels, Abel relives his wartime experiences with his fallen comrades, saves a life and inadvertently drags an innocent couple into his conflict.
Years of research into Civil War history show in Weller's confident use of period detail, from his characters' speech patterns to the atrocities of the battlefield. The intensely intimate narrative personalizes 19th-century America's darkest moments as Abel struggles with his conscience and prejudice as a young man and his guilt and trauma in his twilight years. Tender and resonant, Weller's debut is not an epic saga of war, but a skillful exploration of the interconnectedness of humanity and the endurance of compassion.
***This review originally appeared in Shelf Awareness. Sign up for this free and awesome newsletter at http://www.shelf-awareness.com for the latest news and reviews! This review refers to an ARC provided by Shelf Awareness.***