A sweeping epic of the American frontier and the brave few who risked their lives for the promise of glory and limitless fortunes
For Americans in the early nineteenth century, the uncharted western frontier signified both great opportunity and grave danger. Bold pioneers left the civilized Eastern Seaboard in droves, seeking riches and reinvention. Trekking across the continent’s vast plains and rivers, they faced the threat of disease, wild animals, and violence from Native Americans who resented this invasion into their land. In this stunningly dynamic novel, author Cameron Judd portrays one such perilous journey down the Ohio River through the eyes of sixteen-year-old Celinda Ames.
During the Ames family’s trip to Natchez—one of the earliest settlements in what is now Mississippi—both of Celinda’s parents die from infection. Left to fend for herself, Celinda encounters an array of seamy characters drawn to the lawless West, like the malevolent Harpe brothers—arguably America’s first serial killers—who prowl the river robbing and murdering unsuspecting travelers. This enthralling narrative leads up to the powerful earthquake of 1811 that jolted the Midwest, upended the region’s budding civilizations, and changed the course of migration to the West. With an unflinching eye, Judd evokes the dangers of the frontier with vivid clarity and illustrates the exhilarating adventures of those who dared to conquer it.