In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set forth to explore and map the West, and forge a trade route to the Pacific coast. Though their adventures and contributions to American history are well known, a vital member of their team was nearly forgotten by time. Amid the soldiers, cartographers, and boatmen, one particular explorer in The Corps of Discovery stands out: Seaman, Captain Lewis’s giant black Newfoundland dog.
Seaman is more than a just a companion. He is a skilled hunter, a talented scout, and a fierce guardian, frequently risking his own life to save that of his master’s. Along with Seaman, Sacajawea, and the intrepid pioneers in their party, Lewis and Clark face countless dangers—starvation, deadly storms, and hostile tribes—as they attempt to achieve President Jefferson’s ambitious assignment.
Based on expedition journals and other historical documents, Trail is a gripping retelling of a true American adventure that vividly captures the inspiration, courage, and imagination of the Westward Expansion.
This competent but uninspired historical novel (Charbonneau's 17th book) follows the famous 1904-06 expedition up the Missouri River, across the Great Plains, over the Rocky Mountains and down the Columbia River to the Pacific. As sources Charbonneau uses the journals of Lewis and Clark and others, veering away from fact only to provide fictional journal entries of George Shannon, a young recruit to the ``cause'' of the expedition, and frequent detailed passages written from the point of view of Lewis's Newfoundland dog, Seaman--who offers the only respite from a rather dry rendition of the journey. In fact, Seaman emerges as one of the novel's few convincing characters, along with Sacajawea, a pregnant young Indian woman, and her white husband (oddly, named Charbonneau), both of whom join the party as interpreters. Lewis and Clark remain nearly indistinguishable as characters. Charbonneau's straightforward style and attention to the details of the historic trek carry but do not propel us through the hefty book.