During the winter of 1825, Richard Hamilton—a timid Harvard philosophy student—arrives in St. Louis on business for his father. Robbed and beaten, desperate to save his life, he reluctantly joins the crew of the Maria, a fur trader's keelboat. Bound for the beautiful, wild, and dangerous Indian country of the Upper Yellowstone River, the native Bostonian begins the education and adventure of a lifetime.
On a converging path is Packrat, a Pawnee warrior who captures a beautiful young Shoshone medicine woman named Heals Like a Willow. But slaves with ties to the spirit world can—and do—fight back.
As the Maria struggles deeper into the wilderness, Richard and Willow are cast together: seekers of knowledge and spirit, unwitting adversaries separated by time, space, and birthright. As inevitable as the collision of their two worlds, their love begins to unfold—and with it the terrible consequences of a forbidden consummation.
Morning River is the first novel in W. Michael Gear's Man from Boston series—a historical fiction saga of the dangers and possibilities of the American frontier.
At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
Through seven novels, most recently People of the Lightning, Gear (writing with Kathleen O'Neal Gear) has re-created the life of Native Americans of 2000 years ago. In his first solo hardcover, Gear moves ahead to 1825, intending, as he states in a foreword, to puncture current rosy "myths" about the Plains Indians. "The people of the Plains," Gear says, "took slaves, murdered women and children, committed genocide on their neighbors, and broke treaties." This is revisionist, pedagogical fiction, then, and the narrative shows it not only through its luxuriant detail but also through lengthy expository speeches that impede narrative flow. Gear's lens on the past is Richard Hamilton, a petulant Harvard philosophy student who's sent by his father on business to St. Louis. There, Richard loses his father's bankroll and is sold as an indentured servant, spinning him into an adventure up the Mississippi that brings him up against frontiersfolk and Indians who are alike in nobility and depravity. Gear is a vigorous writer, and when he lets the often brutal action speak for itself, he tells a gripping tale, one to be continued in a sequel, Coyote Summer.