Children of First Man

Children of First Man

4.5 2
by JAMES ALEXANDER Thom
     
 

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Three hundred years before Columbus, a Welsh Prince named Madoc -- an invincible blond giant of a man -- crossed the Atlantic with a fleet of wooden boats to plant a colony in the paradise he called Iarghal. Four countless generations, Prince Madoc's blue-eyed descendants migrated along the great waterways of the primeval New World, mingling their blood, their legends

Overview

Three hundred years before Columbus, a Welsh Prince named Madoc -- an invincible blond giant of a man -- crossed the Atlantic with a fleet of wooden boats to plant a colony in the paradise he called Iarghal. Four countless generations, Prince Madoc's blue-eyed descendants migrated along the great waterways of the primeval New World, mingling their blood, their legends, and their dreams with the native peoples. This is their story.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Eight centuries ago, Madoc, an illegitimate son of a mediocre Welsh king, may have led ten boatloads of his countrymen across the Atlantic and settled them in the Tennessee and Ohio River valleys. Thom's multigenerational historical novel skillfully enlarges the scant evidence for this legend. Madoc's Welsh build a benevolent colony (complete with castles), die by hubris, and repeat their history, always as nastier people with shoddier castles, until their decline (as Thom sees it) into an illiterate but not unspiritual people. Though generally sensitive to Native American culture, he hits some patronizing notes in rendering the interior monologs of some Indian characters. Also, reader interest may wane with the endless succession of protagonists that such a time span inevitably produces-Thom's most fleshed-out character dies with 700 years and more than half the book still to go. However, the passages on medieval sea-faring and smallpox epidemics are quite riveting. Recommended for public libraries.-Scott H. Silverman, Bryn Mawr Coll. Lib., Pa.
Joe Collins
A highly imaginative novel that combines an old legend with historical fact to create an epic tale of America starting some 300 years before Columbus arrived. Thom uses a long-discussed legend of Welshmen who traveled to the far-off land of Iarghal (the North American continent) during the twelfth century A.D. Here, despite overwhelming odds, Welsh chieftain Madoc builds a society by interbreeding his people with the local native tribes. The book then skips ahead in 70- to 80-year increments, describing the eventual assimilation and northern migration of the tribal descendants, recognizable as Welsh by their facial features and blond hair. All this is bookended by researcher George Catlin, a portrait artist who befriends the tribe, now called the Mandans, in the mid-nineteenth century. There are epic battles among the Welsh and the Native Americans and between the tribes themselves, as well as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and diseases; the sex is bawdy and the violence is unrelentingly bloody, but the individual human spirit shines through. Thom's use of the language is masterful, with early chapters featuring Madoc by using flowery, age-of-chivalry prose; later, the tales of the evolving Native American tribes are told in simple, almost childlike sentences that reflect their primitive but proud nature. Finally, the appearance of later explorers like DeSoto and Lewis and Clark is done in traditional style. A terrifically entertaining novel, particularly in dealing with the advance of white society from the Native American viewpoint.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449149706
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
08/28/1995
Edition description:
REPRINT
Pages:
608
Product dimensions:
4.19(w) x 6.86(h) x 1.36(d)

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Children of First Man 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
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