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The Outlander
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The Outlander

3.6 69
by Gil Adamson

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In 1903 a mysterious young woman flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widow—and her husband's killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to


In 1903 a mysterious young woman flees alone across the West, one heart-pounding step ahead of the law. At nineteen, Mary Boulton has just become a widow—and her husband's killer. As bloodhounds track her frantic race toward the mountains, she is tormented by mad visions and by the knowledge that her two ruthless brothers-in-law are in pursuit, determined to avenge their younger brother's death. Responding to little more than the primitive fight for life, the widow retreats ever deeper into the wilderness—and into the wilds of her own mind—encountering an unforgettable cast of eccentrics along the way.

With the stunning prose and captivating mood of great works like Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain or early Cormac McCarthy, Gil Adamson's intoxicating debut novel weds a brilliant literary style to the gripping tale of one woman's desperate escape.

Editorial Reviews

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"It was night, and the dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling." Mary Boulton, 19, is newly widowed, a result of having murdered her husband. The men with the dogs are her twin brothers-in-law, gunslingers bent on avenging their dead sibling. It is 1903, and the only place for Mary to run is west, into the wilderness.

She is pursued not only by the vengeful twins but also by visions. Mary was raised in a genteel household but married a brute; now, having divested herself of her husband, she is not altogether sane. From an early benefactress she steals a horse, and together they navigate a gothic, ghostly mountain pass, unlikely to improve Mary's mental state. Desperate, freezing, and alone, Mary is now an outlander, as are most of the characters she encounters. The bird lady, the Ridgerunner, Bonny, the dwarf, and the cat-skinner are all earthbound beings inhabiting unsettled lives.

The juxtaposition of Adamson's ethereal landscape and unusual characters make this novel difficult to put down. One is never completely sure if the landscape described is wholly real or a figment borne of Mary's fragile mind. Either way, The Outlander is a poet's journey through astonishing terrain. (Summer 2008 Selection)
Ron Charles
…an absorbing adventure from a Canadian poet and short story writer who knows how to keep us enthralled. Of course, the Girl Being Chased is one of the most enduring figures of chivalric and chauvinistic literature, a staple of television dramas and horror films…But Gil is short for Gillian, and her strange and complicated heroine has nothing in common with Hollywood's worn-out damsels in distress…there are pages here you can't read slowly enough to catch every word. Adamson is as captivating with descriptions of vast mountain ranges as she is with the smaller calamities, like the drowning of a yearling "frightened into madness."
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

Set in 1903, Adamson's compelling debut tells the wintry tale of 19-year-old Mary Boulton ("[w]idowed by her own hand") and her frantic odyssey across Idaho and Montana. The details of Boulton's sad past-an unhappy marriage, a dead child, crippling depression-slowly emerge as she reluctantly ventures into the mountains, struggling to put distance between herself and her two vicious brothers-in-law, who track her like prey in retaliation for her killing of their kin. Boulton's journey and ultimate liberation-made all the more captivating by the delirium that runs in the recesses of her mind-speaks to the resilience of the female spirit in the early part of the last century. Lean prose, full-bodied characterization, memorable settings and scenes of hardship all lift this book above the pack. Already established as a writer of poetry (Ashland) and short stories (Help Me, Jacques Cousteau), Adamson also shines as novelist. (Apr.)

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Library Journal

Canadian poet and short fiction writer Adamson (Ashland), a 2007 Hammett Prize nominee, has shaped a picaresque tale in the style of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain. Set in 1903, it reveals Mary Boulton's life with her cruel husband, John, in jagged flashbacks reflecting her sporadic delirium from hunger and the harsh elements. After their sickly newborn son dies, Mary takes the only way out she knows: she kills John with his hunting rifle and escapes West, with John's two angry brothers in pursuit. Various eccentrics help her along her harrowing journey, including William Moreland, a rough mountain man who eventually leaves her to return to the wilderness. Mary barely survives until a Crow Indian finds and takes her to a nearby mining town, where she recuperates. The brothers eventually track her down there, arriving just after a calamitous landslide. Authentic historical details, a strong female character running for her life, and a murder-driven plot will appeal to fiction readers in all public libraries. Highly recommended.
—Donna Bettencourt

Kirkus Reviews
The perambulations of a young woman across an austere landscape, knowing what she's running from but fuzzy about what she's running toward. At the age of 19, Mary Boulton becomes a fugitive: The self-made widow killed her husband with his own rifle. This murderous act doesn't occur in frustration or in rage but is done calmly, almost dispassionately, owing to a cumulative series of outrages in their brief marriage. The novel traces her journey across an early-20th-century landscape. Pursuing her are her two beefy twin brothers-in-law, who want revenge if not justice for the killing of their younger brother. Along the way Mary has several significant encounters, first with William Moreland, a self-sufficient frontiersman who readily admits he can't put up with civilization. After their relationship heats up considerably, he leaves, Mary being almost more civilization than a body can stand. She continues west and temporarily settles in the forlorn mining town of Frank, where she meets up with the Reverend Bonnycastle, a limited but sincere minister. Their relationship is one of surrogate father-daughter. She also meets the requisite eccentrics, including McEchern, a dwarf who owns a small business but who makes most of his money through the sale of white lightning. Disaster strikes when a) Mary visits a mine closely followed by b) a rockslide that buries most of the town. It turns out that a woman in a mine is considered something other than an omen of good fortune. The narrative picks up steam as the twins finally catch word of Mary's whereabouts and Moreland has a change of heart and decides that Mary is just what he needs to anchor him more firmly to his natural existence. At times thebook reads almost like an allegory, for Adamson refers to her characters by abstractions like "the widow," "the Reverend" and "the Ridgerunner."A lovingly crafted novel.
Ann Patchett
“THE OUTLANDER deserves to be read twice, first for the plot and the complex characters which make this a page-turner of the highest order, and then a second time, slowly, to savor the marvel of Gil Adamson’s writing. This novel is a true wonder.”
Ron Rash
“This remarkable novel opens at full gallop and never slows. Adamson has seamlessly merged a compelling narrative with poetic language to create a work that is full of beauty and heart and wonder.”
Michael Ondaatje
“A remarkable first novel, full of verve, beautifully written, and with all the panache of a great adventure.”

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt


It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling. They burst from the cover of the woods and their shadows swam across a moonlit field. For a moment, it was as if her scent had torn like a cobweb and blown on the wind, shreds of it here and there, useless. The dogs faltered and broke apart, yearning. Walking now, stiff-legged, they ploughed the grass with their heavy snouts.

Finally, the men appeared. They were wordless, exhausted from running with the dogs, huffing in the dark. First came the boy who owned the dogs, and then two men, side by side, massive redheads so close in appearance they might be twins. Dabs of firefly light drifted everywhere; the night was heavy with the smell of manure and flowering apple and pear. Finally, the westernmost hound discovered a new direction, and dogs and men lurched on.

The girl scrambled through ditchwater and bulrushes, desperate to erase her scent. For a perilous moment she dared to stop running, to stand motionless, listening, holding her dark skirts out of the water. In the moonlight, her beautiful face was hollow as a mask, eyes like holes above the smooth cheeks. The booming in her ears faded slowly, and she listened to the night air. No wind through the trees. The frogs had stopped shrilling. No sound except the dripping of her skirts and, far away, the dogs.

Nineteen years old and already a widow. Mary Boulton. Widowed by her own hand.

The girl stood in her ditch under a hard, small moon. Pale foam rose from where her shoes sank into mud. No more voices inside her head, no noise but these dogs. She saw her own course along the ground as a trail of bright light, now doused in the ditchwater. She clambered up the bank and onto a road, her stiff funeral skirt made of bedspread and curtain, her hair wild and falling in dark ropes about her face. The widow gathered up her shawl and fled witchlike down the empty road.

at daybreak she was waiting for a ferry, hooded and shivering in her sodden black clothes. She did not know where she was but had simply run till the road came to an end, and there was the landing. A grand, warning sunrise lay overhead, lighting the tips of the trees, while the ground was in shadow and cold. The hem of her skirt was weighed down by mud. She whispered in camaraderie with herself, the shawl about her ears, while another woman stood uneasy by the empty ticket booth and held her children silent. They all watched her with large eyes. Even the smallest seemed to know not to wake the sleepwalker. Out above the river’s surface, fat swallows stabbed at unseen bugs and peeped to one another in emotionless repetition. The ferry sat unmoving on the other side, a great flat skiff with a pilot’s cabin in the rear. The widow considered the ticket booth, realizing suddenly that she had no money. Behind her was the long, vacant road she had come down. It was stick-straight and lined with trees, and at the limit of sight it bent to the left where no movement, no human shape was yet visible. Her mind had cleared a little because she felt less afraid, and she now saw the world around her in a sharper, simpler way. Even the wind, rising and subsiding and fluttering her collar, followed a less ornamented rhythm than before. She could see it blowing, an infinite number of slack lines waving before her.

A boy on the other side of the river came to the edge of the bank and waved. One of the children waved back. He put his hands to his mouth and hollered. A man’s voice hollered back. The widow turned to see a tall figure in coveralls coming down the road, his hand aloft. He must have emerged from an unseen path through the trees. He unlocked the door to the booth, stepped inside, slid back a tiny window, and leaned on his elbows. The woman and her children crowded in at the window and together they debated in hushed voices. A child’s hand reached up to finger the dull coins and was slapped away. Once they had paid, the woman moved her children away to the dock. The river swept by in lavish, syrupy whorls, over which the ferry now laboured. The sky was withering with morning, whiter by the second, and over the shallows and the slim line of sand, insects could be seen gliding, carried giddy on the wind.

The widow roused herself, tucked a strand of hair under her shawl, and went up to the tiny booth with its window.

Inside, the ticketman’s racoon face floated in the dim, close air.

“I haven’t . . .” she began.

He said nothing, simply waited. His hand lay on the counter before him, knuckles heavy and cracked.

The widow gazed in disgust at his fingernails, pale and sunk into the flesh, with a rim of dirt about each one. A cluster of slumbering things, and above them, darkness and the man’s watching eyes.

“I haven’t any money,” she managed.

“Can’t get over if ye can’t pay.”

Her mouth fell open. Part desperation, part surprise at hearing an actual human voice. “Please, I need to get to the other side. I’m . . . late getting home.”

“Out late, eh?”

The feral face came a little farther out of the gloom, fixing her with eyes that were clouded and small. He seemed to be considering an alternative meaning to her statement. She held her collar tight and waited as he gathered the unknown thoughts together.

“Been visiting?” His face took on the shadow of a smile. It was not an unkind face, exactly. The widow nodded, her heart beating hugely.

“Your mother will miss ye, won’t she, if ye don’t get home?”

The widow had never known a mother, and yet she nodded vigorously.

The ticketman’s smile became a leer. “Can’t have that.” He rose and stepped from the wooden booth, taking the widow’s elbow in his massive hand. They walked together down to the river. The ferry, now docked, churned and roared and dug up the river mud. A scarf of cloudy water made its way downriver, where the current stirred the clear and the murky together. Black smoke issued from the ferry’s funnel and was snatched away by wind. The man helped her to the railing, then went back to the shore.

The widow looked down into the boil of water, wood, and parts of fish churning in the soup, the ferry rocking deeply as if trying to tip her in. Her stomach lurched and she moved over by the engine-room door. Inside, the ferryman, who couldn’t have been more than sixteen, struggled with various levers. She closed her eyes and clutched her hands together as the boat backed away from the shore, leaving solid ground, and swung slowly out into the current. The horn bawled suddenly, then again, acknowledging the ticketman left on the shore, and he raised his hand, standing among the flowering trees.


An hour later, two men stood waiting at the river’s edge — red-headed brothers with rifles across their backs. Large men, identical in every way, standing close by each other, not speaking. Each with huge chest and arms, sleeves rolled up, like two lumberjacks in a rustic play. But these were not lumberjacks. The pallor of their faces, the close trim of their beards, belied any suggestion of work. And they wore fine black boots.

The ticketman, like most superstitious country people, mistrusted twins, disliked the puzzle of them, the potential for trickery, the sheer unnaturalness. He’d been to sideshows to see the horrors in which twins figured as highlights: bottled “punks” and rubber replicas, conjoined monsters melted together by the breath of hell. He’d stood with his neighbours, scandalized, all of them sharing the barker’s opinion that human birth is a treacherous thing, and woman is its greatest dupe. Now, studying the brothers from the gloom of his little booth, he tsk-ed in sour disapproval. Twins or not, he overcharged them anyway.

Two the widow headed down an empty cart track with the river to her right. She was two hours from the ferry and already the day promised to be scorching. So keen was the sun’s heat that she was forced to pause in the shadows of trees to cool herself. Once, she sat on a fallen trunk and cracked the mud from her hems and shook them hard, sitting back to watch the dust eddy about her like fairies. Even in shade the ground griddled back the day’s heat; it came through the soles of her shoes. She brushed dust from her bodice, smoothed the dark fabric over her hollow stomach. She tried not to look at her hands. Who knew what was painted there? Roosters crowed in the distance. She regarded the river passing by in its curious patterns and tried to deduce the shape of the riverbed by its gurgling signs. Her eye naturally followed any floating thing, then the next, moving as if reading line by line, watching a leaf or any small body scrolling along the surface.

They would come after her, follow her, even across the river. Of course they would. She stood up and hurried on. Past massive oaks, and in the ditches and hollows, sumac tufts with their blood-red cobs, the morning grand and white and arid over the scrawny maples. At a wide bend in the river she passed a stone house where a caramel-coloured dog exploded against the rickety slats of a fence. The widow stood in a comic posture, hand at her breast, while the animal abused her in its own tongue, spittle flying. Finally a human voice shouted from inside the echoing house. “Shut up, you bastard. I said shut up!”

The widow staggered into the hot morning, invective fading in her ears. There had always been something about her that disturbed animals. She knew how to ride well enough, but the horses always reared and shied at first, jerked their heads and did not want her to mount. Domestic animals merely tolerated her. Cats watched anything in a room but her. Birds seemed not to know she existed. Bread tossed from her hand was invisible to them. She remembered a girl from her youth standing on the sidewalk with cubes of bread on her hat while sparrows alighted and squabbled, jostling with their papery bodies. The smile on the girl’s face had made her seem like an expensive doll, dreamy and staring, her hair in doll’s ringlets.

Now the widow was passing bigger houses and more garbage strewn about the riverbank. The cart track broke in two and one branch forded a shallow swill that flowed across the imaginary lines of property. The other track climbed a whitish and crumbling hill above the river that meandered through scraggy trees. The widow chose the second way, and she clambered between rutted cart tracks holding her skirts up in front. The heat was leaden now, and she felt the blackness of the fabric draping her shoulders. In the shallows fish ran in idle patterns, churning up little blooms of reddish clay, and turtles lay dripping on the warm rocks, unseen in their camouflage.

She heard the voices of men and, later, children from below her, but she could not bring herself to look over the bank to see whether anyone was really there. There or not, they called to her as she passed, and their words were not words but accusations and longing. The river opened into wide pools where one massive catfish strafed in wearied bursts against the current and drifted in the shadows. She found a backless chair set out upon the grassy edge, dragged to this spot perhaps by someone who wished to fish or be thoughtful or watch a sunset. The widow sat herself within her damp clothes and felt an ants-crawl of sweat down her belly. Her mouth open, panting. She removed the shawl and shook it out and bent to pick at dollops of mud and crusted vegetation that clung to it.

She looked closely at the bits of flora hiding in the shawl’s nap. The world is full of stowaways. Frowsy little flowered weeds that dry out and crumble and float on the air to reproduce. Burrs carried on an animal’s body until chewed or scratched away; any dog trotting through underbrush wears clusters that cling to clusters, and carries them far from home. She found each hooked fibre and picked it free and dropped it to the grass. There at her feet were the knockings of a man’s pipe tobacco.

Her father had smoked a pipe. How many times had she divined her own father’s nocturnal wanderings by the signs he left behind. The quiet, melancholy man drifting away to be by himself in the dark, leaving a scattering of spent matches, a splatch of tobacco ash. Not so secretive, not so private. The nests of dried filaments seemed to the widow to be left deliberately by men to mark their presence. Here the grass was trampled down and the chair legs sunk immovable into the soil. She shifted from side to side and the chair legs did not loose themselves from their sockets. A heavy man, she thought, who sits and smokes. She smiled and spread her legs and fanned her skirts to cool herself.

Raspberries, strawberries. These were easy, but if eaten too often would cause cramping. She hoped soon to see an orchard, wondered about this part of the world and whether people grew fruit. Behind some of the houses she had seen leggy chickens. She knew how to deal with poultry; but where to find a knife and something to cook them in? She had noted the chicks hovering about the scaly knee bones of their mothers, ignoring the widow’s warning shadow, running after their dams as if tugged by little threads.

There was renewed booming in her ears. Her pulse huge and painful, racketing in her head. She must not think of babies. Must not think at all.

The widow gripped her knees in apprehension, stared down at the dreaming surface of the river, and held her breath. Would she see figures there? She hummed a short hymn to stave them off. Rocked back and forth. A small breeze rose. The booming subsided slowly. In the end, the river did nothing.

It was with grinding certainty that her mental lapses came, sometimes accompanied by noises — a booming in her ears, yes, but also voices, strange and distorted. Terrible things were imparted to her in non-words, in senseless howling. Or the sound of a cricket chirruping. Or a clatter, like a spoon thrust into a fan. She would press her hands over her ears — pointlessly, because the noise came from within — press her palms there as if to keep the horrors from leaking out of her into the room. First the sounds, then the visions. And every time, she suffered a sense of fatedness, of punishment. She was like a woman forever woken from a nightmare, afraid to go back to sleep lest it pick up where it left off. The world has gone black before, and surely will again — because you make it so. What spooks will come? What hand come to startle the sleepwalker? She knew there was a truth or near-truth in those terrifying moments, a lesson she must undergo. She suffered the stuffing in of it all, while her body remained in the world, exposed, her flesh in its clothes and shoes, going about its business, an empty, drifting engine.

So now she hummed her little hymn, her incantation to stave off the rolling darkness. Sometimes it worked. the rest of the day the widow hurried along through the heat, clutching her shawl. There were no houses now, only fields with roads crossing them. Slowly her eyes fell till she was simply watching her boots swing forward and then back, crescent puffs of dust in each footfall. Unslept for several days, she simply walked, the regular pulse of her breath in her ears all that hollow afternoon, her life reduced to rhythm. When the light faded entirely, she became part of the night. The dark was heaven, and heaven was the night. She mouthed incantations to it: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be . . . world without end. Walking slowly now, she still followed the river. Trees stood in grand postures over the bank, bushes in pools of their own shadow.

Finally, she found herself standing still. How long had she been here? Swaying slightly, her mind vacant. After a moment, she crawled under a cascading bush to sleep. But she could only lie awake, her eyes closed while ants explored her face. Eventually she scrambled out again. The moon lay small and not quite full over the river, a pale lamp. Crickets thrilling in the grass. She skidded down the riverbank to the sandy beach and stood there by the nearly silent flow, then squatted and drank palmfuls of cold water.

Behind her there came a light exhalation of breath. She whirled around to see two small figures sitting together under the earthen overhang of the riverbank: two little girls holding hands, their eyes huge.

“Hello,” one said, her voice strangely deep. The child brought something to her lips. A red spot glowed by her knuckles.

The widow sighed with relief and put a hand to her breast to calm her leaping heart. “Goodness, girls! What are you two doing out of bed?” she said.

The children looked at each other in obvious mirth and exchanged the cigarette.

“What time is it? Do your parents know you’re here?”

“Yes,” they said together. “Everyone knows.”

“I can’t say I believe that,” the widow said, noticing the fine little nightdresses, the delicate slippers in the sand. Beloved and privileged children, alone in the dark.

“We always come here,” said the other girl, squinting one eye against the ascending smoke. “This is our place.” Plump cheeks and pursed lips, a wintery look of assessment in her eyes, a ridiculous mime of adulthood.

“You should be at home, in bed,” said the widow.

“So should you!” laughed the first girl.

“And you oughtn’t to smoke. It’s unattractive, and you might form the habit.”

“Or we’ll end up like you, I suppose.”

“I don’t smoke.”

“Sure you do!” one said, and they both shrieked with laughter. This impudence caught the widow off guard. She felt like a child trying to best another child and failing. The widow did indeed smoke, when she was alone and no one was likely to see.

“We lie on the beach sometimes, if it’s not raining,” said the first child. “Feel the sand. It’s still warm from the sun.”

All three now put their palms to the soft white sand, which radiated a gorgeous heat. The widow stood again and looked down at the girls’ little heads, the small bare arms coming out of their nightdresses, hands passing the cigarette between them.

“We lie, but we don’t sleep.” The deep voice was almost like a man’s now.

“And what does that makes us?” the other girl sang out, as if in a familiar chant.

“Tired, tired, always tired,” they said together.

“You girls wouldn’t happen to have anything . . . any food?” the widow faltered. “I only ask because —”

“No food.”

“Oh. I see.”

“Are you terribly hungry?” one asked, her smile distinctly not innocent.

A question began to form in the widow’s mind, a muted warning, like a drone from another room, getting louder. As if in answer, one of the children said, “We came up just to see you.”

There was a long silence, the only sound the river’s sluicing beyond and the hiss of wind through dry bushes. When the widow spoke again, her voice was a dilute and timorous whisper. “Up from where?”

They pointed together at the dark river. Their eyes like coals.

The widow’s heart leaped and pounded painfully in her throat. “Oh no,” she said.

She forced her eyes down, away from the vision, and as she did, tears surged up. Defeated again by an imagined thing. And yet, she could not quite believe this solid thing had come from within.

Nothing mattered but the fact of them, two children in white, their huge eyes watching her. One moved a foot, and she could hear it on the sand. How alive the illusions always were — there is art in madness, in its disastrous immediacy. Four little slippers resting in the sand, one of the toes cocked slightly inward, the way any child’s foot might.

She turned sharply and made her way back up the embankment, grasping roots and tufts of grass with trembling hands as she went, her eyes wide and terrified. For a moment, the white nightdresses of the girls were there in the corner of her eye. And then, just as surely, they were gone.

The widow remembered how, as a child, she had snuck out one night with a young Scottish maid, carrying a pair of her late mother’s shoes. The girl had whispered, “You do it. It has to be you.” In the soft, wet summer earth, they had dug a hole with their hands and the widow had dropped the shoes into the hole.

“May her spirit never walk,” whispered the maid, and spat on them. It never had. Of all the apparitions the widow had seen in her nineteen years, her mother had never been among them.

What People are Saying About This

Michael Ondaatje
“A remarkable first novel, full of verve, beautifully written, and with all the panache of a great adventure.”
Ron Rash
“This remarkable novel opens at full gallop and never slows. Adamson has seamlessly merged a compelling narrative with poetic language to create a work that is full of beauty and heart and wonder.”
Ann Patchett
“THE OUTLANDER deserves to be read twice, first for the plot and the complex characters which make this a page-turner of the highest order, and then a second time, slowly, to savor the marvel of Gil Adamson’s writing. This novel is a true wonder.”

Meet the Author

Gil Adamson is the author of two books of poetry and a collection of stories, Help Me, Jacques Cousteau. The Outlander is her first novel. She lives with fellow writer Kevin Connolly in Toronto.

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The Outlander 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 69 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first part of the book was harder for me to get into, even though the book starts out suspenseful. After the first 4-5 chapters, I thought the story built up really well and then I could not put it down. Really interesting snapshot of the time period, wilderness and mountain settlements. Very interesting characters and the choices they make. I think it would make for a good book club discussion. I think this would also make an interesting film.......
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began reading on Saturday evening and read until I couldn't keep my eyes open. Finished it Sunday. I is honestly one of the best stories I have read. Keep on writing Gil.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1903, nineteen years old Mary Boulton calmly grabs her husband¿s rifle and fires killing him. The widow knows she cannot hang around not because she fears the law, but her abusive brother in laws would enact vengeance in their vicious style.----------------- Mary flees across wintry isolated Idaho and Montana while knowing in her composed gut they pursue her. On her trek, she reflects on her unhappy but thankfully short marriage exacerbated by the dead child. As her deep depression enables her to remain eerily unruffled, she meets people along the way. First there is the Frontiersman who admits creeping civilization makes him depressingly feel like an anachronism then there is the Reverend who treats her like an adored daughter. There are others some not as kind towards the itinerant female especially after a mining disaster that the locals feel she caused by being there. However, the worst is coming as the brothers are nearing and the Reverend wants to change their relationship to that of more of equal partners.------------- An allegory of a way of life that seems all but vanished, THE OUTLANDER is an excellent historical thriller starring a strong support cast, a spirited lead female, and a vivid picturesque setting. Readers anticipate High Noon is coming, but it is the trip to the final showdown that makes for a deep look at early twentieth century America in a remote part of the northwest.---------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Without doubt, this is one of the best books I have read in a while. It will definatly be on my list of favorites! From the opening page it grabs you and keeps you hooked until the very end. The characters in this book are so well developed and the plot keeps you wondering what will happen next. I finished reading yesterday and hope to reread it very soon. As I was reading I couldn't help but think what a wonderful movie this book would make...maybe we will see it in theaters soon!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept looking for more background story--before Mary "took flight". That was my only real complaint. Nice cast of characters along the way. Need more Canadian historical fiction like this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story. Just how long do you trudge along to escape your pursuers, and when is it just easier to give up? A true depiction of the real life characters that settled the west in the early years of our nation's history.
Hokie3457 More than 1 year ago
Great story of a woman on the run and her struggles in the great outdoors and inside her own mind.
LoveToReadVW More than 1 year ago
Not since I read The Shipping News has a novel so caught my attention. The descriptions of the mountain scenery are beautiful, as is her knowledge of how to survive in the wilderness. The author's descriptions of how Mary interacts with those she meets along the way show her developing strength and will to survive. Please, Gil Adamson, continue to write fiction!
TheFactory More than 1 year ago
Adamson presents an engaging idea of a widow who kills her husband and sets off into the wilderness to escape the two twin brother's-in-law tracking her to bring her to justice and or kill her. Little is done however, to develop the widow as a character. Nearly a hundred pages into the book one cannot find an explanation as to why she killed her husband, nor does one readily come by the end. It isn't learned until several chapters what her name is. Several hundred pages one knows very little about the main character at all, and has little sympathy for her meanderings, all trivial and forced. One can only guess in the end why the widow killed her husband. Mostly, since the husband is painted very sympathetically, there seems little motivation on the widows part to have done the deed. Secondary characters are given better to full development, like the widow's father, who is mentioned often, enough that one expects to see him, or for there to be a confrontation between him and the widow. Further inconsistencies include the fact the window can't read, but for convenience later she suddenly reads plenty. This is from a lack of development on the author's part, having written herself to a place she couldn't get out of. Overall, the back jacket of the book wooed me, but the book did not come close to living up to it's expectations. It feels as if information was inserted here and there without any pointed direction on the author's part.
katSC More than 1 year ago
After finishing this book I was sweetly surprised. The end of the book took me late into the night before I finally finished it. I thought the plot was well thought out and the characters were striking. When I started the book I was indifferent toward Mary Bulton but by the end I was rooting for her. Good read and interesting content.
10of11 More than 1 year ago
If you have the intelligence to understand and appreciate highly complex characters accompanied by accurate historical settings, this book will keep you enthralled to the end. I only wish the author would write more books of this genre.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book got my interest in the beginning, but by the end I was bored. The whole time I waited for the reason she became "the widow" but I was not amused. The main character was at no point likable nor interesting. You could tell the author tried to develop her character, but it wasn't done well.
scojo More than 1 year ago
Don't confuse this with the American YA series "Outlander." This is by a Canadian author who writes carefully and with poise. Certain facts like what year is it? what is heroine running from - are revealed slowly, later, so you have to be patient - it's truly worth it. I couldn't put it down. I loved the ending. Go Gil Adamson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The premise of this story sounded really good, but it somehow lost me along the way. I kept hoping for the exciting climax to this book, but never really could get it. The story just sort of fizzled for me and although I liked the characters, it just left me feeling sort of shallow....not really overly thrilled or disappointed one way or the other. Then there was the ending......I felt as though the writer even got tired of the "chases" and "running" and sort of gave up. It just didn't do it for me.....sorry.
Anonymous 5 days ago
Good book
Anonymous 11 months ago
Simply decided to move on to something else.. For me, reading 84 pages of this book was like trudging through thick mud...wondered why i was doing so. Cannot understand high ratings on this book, but to each their own
Booksntn 11 months ago
Beautifully written, prose in many places, the only thing being there isn't much a story to hold onto. I didn't really see the purpose of meandering in the pages for so long. Strange ending too. I wouldn't say don't read it, especially if you like well written setting, just don't expect the usual, plot driven question and answer...
Anonymous 11 months ago
Don't waste your time. Characters are poorly drawn, story goes nowhere, and the ending answers nothing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't wait to see what happened to the widow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kept me interested to the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Save your money and time. This has to be the poorest book I have ever attempted to read. Just no real story or answers as to what this widow was about. I gave up before half way...some thing I have never done. JUST DOWN RIGHT BAD AND BORING.....d
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was immediately taken into the story. The widow's story was sad and her depression was evident thru the story. I was surprised at her ability to push on and was always waiting for her to just lay down and give it all up. Her continuing on seemed at times to be something that was done with no thought but just instinct. It was almost painful to read at times and then I was surprised that it wa.s over.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing from start to finish. Elaborate,descriptions of every thing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is good and can get interesting at some parts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Characters come alive, haunting novel, can't wait to read more by this author