The Morning River

( 3 )


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 ...

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The Morning River: A Novel of the Great Missouri Wilderness in 1825

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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.

The Morning River is the first of The Man from Boston duology from bestselling author W. Michael Gear—a western that has become a classic tale of the dangers and possibilities of the American frontier.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Gear is a vigorous writer....He tells a gripping tale." —Publishers Weekly

"Michael Gear's Indians, mountain men, entrepreneurs, and even effete New Englanders ring faithful to their time and place. This is not only a good story with finely etched characters, but good history as well. Michael Gear has crafted fiction and history into a good read." —Robert M. Utley, author of The Lance and the Shield: The Life and Times of Sitting Bull

"I am thrilled with pleasure and deep satisfaction at every page I read." —Norman Zollinger, Golden Spur Award-winning author of Riders to Cibola and Chapultepec

Rocky Mountain News
Gear writes a superbly rolling prose with flair, confidence, wit, an ear for sounds and an eye for details.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
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. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
Gear is better known as the coauthor of several novels set in pre-Columbian North America (People of the Lightning, 1995, etc.), but his first volume in a coming-of-age saga set in 1825 demonstrates a rather formidable individual storytelling gift, his strong theme overshadowing occasional didacticism.

Richard Hamilton, timid Harvard philosophy student and intellectual snob (with a propensity for verbally biting the hand that feeds him), accepts a challenge from his father: Deliver $30,000 to a business associate in St. Louis. If he doesn't accept the task, the elder Hamilton will cut the purse strings. Appalled by his father's lack of appreciation for abstract philosophy—but also by the prospect of supporting himself—Richard leaves Boston determined to remain true to his ideals and untainted by any necessary association with the "animals" and "savages" inhabiting the frontier. Predictably, one of the "animals" takes umbrage at Richard's contempt and retaliates. Richard, now penniless, finds himself sold into a two-year indenture as a deckhand on a Missouri River keelboat engaged in an illegal trading expedition led by an old mountain man named Travis Hartman. Richard's journey up the river is one of intellectual discovery as well as a quest for self-knowledge. In apposition to Richard is Heal Like A Willow, a young Shoshoni woman whose philosophy is also limited by lack of experience. Her rigidity of beliefs mirrors Richard's own, but experience gained during her time on the keelboat transforms her limited perceptions of white culture, in contrast to Richard's continued inability to admit the fallacies of his philosophy.

Weaving together realistic characters, authentic dialogue that only occasionally overdoes the frontier dialect, and a historically accurate setting, Gear creates believable fiction that transcends and transforms its predictable plot.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765375209
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 4/8/2014
  • Series: Man From Boston Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 444,920
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

W. MICHAEL GEAR, who holds a master's degree in archaeology, has worked as a professional archaeologist since 1978. He is currently principal investigator for Wind River Archaeological Consultants. His other books include Long Ride Home, Big Horn Legacy, and Coyote Summer. With his wife Kathleen O’Neal Gear, he is the co-author of the bestselling First North American series.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    The best ever

    Every time I read one of the Gear's books I say it is the best one yet. It holds true here. This is my 16th book of theirs that I have read. The characters come alive! Next, 'The Coyote Summer' is even better...what did you expect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 26, 2011

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    Posted April 20, 2010

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