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This book is a haunting portrait of the most fateful years of American history. Historical events are skilfully entwined with that of the central characters. Thomas McNulty escaping the Great Famine in Ireland, and then providentially meeting up with John Cole, another orphan escaping terrible hardships. Their desperate search for work is sobering before joining the army where they first fought in the Indian Wars, then the American Civil War, before eventually experiencing the lawlessness of the Wild West. It is all the more poignant because the historical information is skilfully written and factually correct, such as the treachery of the Indian treaties.
This book is a masterpiece of fabulous story telling written in lyrical dialect with a rich tapestry of nature, wilderness, deprivation and hope. Each vivid and well defined character carries you with along with them on an extraordinary journey dealing with moral dilemma, actions and ramifications. I found his book so compelling and enjoyable that I savoured every page.
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