Abel Truman who fought in the Civil War and was maimed, is
years later living in the Pacific Northwest, he must
must make a very long journey. This journey will take him
across the snow bound Olympic mountains. He's old, ill and
tired but he and his dog start off on this long weary
journey, his last journey.
Weller's debut novel alernates between 1864 and 1899 as you
follow the life and times of Abel Truman. You will read
about his war days and his war buddies. The terror,
killings and loss of life. The battle of the Wilderness is
staged in North Virginia for this part of the Civil War.
Keep in mind that that some war parts in this book, are
very descriptive of blood, guts and very gory, but
a book to be read.
As Abel travels on his journey with his dog, he thinks back
on the death of his wife and child. Many thoughts go through
his mind, a wonderful story to be told. There are also
beautifully told stories of other characters in this book
that can pull at the heart strings.
In the 1899 chapters, Abel is living an isolated life with
his dog before he runs into a pair of thieves working
their way down the Pacific Coast. The alternating chapters
essentially make for two redemption stories—the first a
chronicle of Abel's awareness of the folly of racism and
the futility of war, the second a tale of human capacity
for not just survival, but heroism. Lance Weller writes so
well of nature's imagery that you feel you are right there
with the characters in WILDERNESS.
I found Lance Weller to be an amazing author, and WILDERNESS
is a must read.
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.