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Savage Wilderness

Savage Wilderness

4.0 4
by Harold Coyle

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Turning to the pivotal years of New World unrest just before the American Revolution, one of America’s finest writers of military fiction captures the drama and wrenching emotions of combat. In his riveting new novel of the French and Indian War, this master storyteller takes us back to a time when America’s vast riches were up for grabs. British forces, joined by


Turning to the pivotal years of New World unrest just before the American Revolution, one of America’s finest writers of military fiction captures the drama and wrenching emotions of combat. In his riveting new novel of the French and Indian War, this master storyteller takes us back to a time when America’s vast riches were up for grabs. British forces, joined by the American colonial militias; and the French, aided by their Indian allies, were locked in battle over the great territories of the Ohio valley. From 1754 though 1759, the fighting was almost constantand sometimes hopeless. Both sides, exhausted from war, nearly conceded defeat. In the end only one side could prevail. In Savage Wilderness, Coyle draws on his own long and distinguished Army service as an armor officer, his extraordinarily detailed research, and a command of combat that is without peer, to create this stunning portrayal of the grim reality of life and death on the battlefield.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Coyle, who made his name on near-future military thrillers (Bright Star, etc.) and, more recently, Civil War dramas (Until the End, etc.) now moves back further in time to produce a vigorous, sweeping saga of frontier warfare during the bloody years of the French and Indian War. In the 1750s, French and British armies battled for colonies in the New World, from Canada to the Ohio River Valley. While European armies fought for king and empire, the Indians and colonists fought for survival. The protagonists here typify their times. Ian McPherson is a Scottish rebel exiled to the American colonies. As a colonial militiaman, he must fight for the king and a culture he hates, biding his time until he can avenge his persecution. Thomas Shields is an arrogant and ambitious British army captain, eager to win glory and fame at any cost; he knows everything about parade-ground tactics, but nothing at all about the American wilderness. Idealistic young French artillery officer Anton de Chevalier's fine mind and sense of duty can't save him from becoming as "savage" as his Indian allies. While English officers play at war, Anton understands its nature and purpose. From Fort Duquesne to Ticonderoga, and from Lake Champlain to Quebec, these men march and fight, enduring harsh terrain, military stupidity and unmatched mayhem. Each believes he has come to conquer the land, never realizing that the land slowly conquers all. Coyle's message is as clear as his storytelling is strong: great empires are won or lost by the blood, determination and ingenuity of a few individuals, grappling on the dark fringes of civilization. (Aug.)
Library Journal
"Nobody knows war like Harold Coyle, and nobody writes it better," says Stephen Coonts, and the proof is that his books have sold ten million copies. Here he takes on the French and Indian War.
Kirkus Reviews
Old pro Coyle (Until the End, 1996, etc.) strikes out on a new course, chronicling the harsh but enlightening experiences of three combatants in the French and Indian War.

At the heart of Coyle's consistently engrossing narrative are: Highlander Ian McPherson (a Culloden veteran exiled to North America in the wake of England's so-called Great Clearance of Scotland); Ensign Anton de Chevalier (bastard son of a minor nobleman, posted to the New France garrison as an officer of artillery); and Captain Thomas Shields (a well-born Londoner who views the colonies as a chance for martial fame and, perhaps, a civilian fortune). In hopes of securing land at the end of his enlistment, Ian marches off in 1754 with a small band of Virginia volunteers under the command of Colonel George Washington—a band that fails, unfortunately, to dislodge the French from Western Pennsylvania. The colonial militia return the next year in company with Redcoat regulars (including Thomas), but with no better results. As the conflict grinds on, it affects the focal characters in various ways. Anton, for example, continues to see God's own glory in the beauty of the woodland battlegrounds, while Thomas (chastened by a near-fatal encounter with a vengeful Indian fighting for the French) lays aside dreams of military honors. As more talented soldiers of the king (Jeffrey Amherst, James Wolfe, et al.) take charge, the tide turns in favor of Anglo-American armies, and in 1759, the Crown's troops win a decisive victory on the Plains of Abraham outside Quebec City. A gravely wounded Thomas resigns his commission to marry a Hudson Valley heiress, Anton soldiers on, and Ian gets his frontier homestead, plus a lusty Irish lass to share it.

Vivid accounts of bloody engagements on New World battlefields where the fate of great empires was decided, and resonant depictions of the men at the sharp end of the bayonet—or tomahawk—make for a splendid period piece.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.65(h) x 1.47(d)

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Read an Excerpt

Acclaimed as one of our nation's greatest writers of military fiction, bestselling author Harold Coyle now delivers a magnificent new masterpiece of conflict, set in the pivotal years before the American Revolution. Vying for control of the New World's vast riches, two mighty empires collide in an explosion of cold steel and cannon fire that will forever alter the shape and destiny of the great, unspoiled continent.

1754. On one side stand the British, under General Edward Braddock, joined by the American colonial militias: on the other, the French, aided by their Indian allies. From the shores of Lake Champlain to Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, they are locked in battle over the unclaimed territories to the west. While distant kings unleash their armies, it is the men and women of the colonies who feel the fire, the fury, the passion of war. Across the virgin fields, forests and frontiers, they discover courage amid the carnage, hope amid the horror, and a new world of freedom amid the beauty and mystery of a savage wilderness.

What People are Saying About This

Stephen Coonts
Nobody knows war like Harold Coyle, and nobody writes it better.
Tom Clancy
Harold Coyle is the best natural storyteller I know.
W E. B. Griffin
A superbly talented storyteller, Harold Coyle brings to the battles of the past the same authenticity and dramatic impact that distinguished his best-selling contemporary war novels.

Meet the Author

Harold Coyle is a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Class of ’74, the Armor Officers Basic Course at Fort Knox, Ky, the Infantry Officer’s Advance Course at Fort Benning, Ga, and the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Ks. He served in Germany from January 1975 to December 1979 with 3rd Battalion, 68th Armor, which was stationed at Sullivan Barracks outside the town of Käfertal. During this time he commanded Company A / 3-68 Armor which was attached to 2nd Battalion, 13th Infantry for training and wartime contingencies. Other assignments included M-1 Branch chief, Weapons Department of the Armor School at Fort Knox; advisor to the National Guard with Readiness Group Devens; assistant operations officer with the Combined Field Army in Korea; G-3 Training officer with the 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood; Task Force Operations officer for 1st Battalion 32nd Armor; admin officer and instructor for the Command and General Staff College’s Combat Studies Institute; and executive officer to the Deputy Commanding General of the 3rd Army during Operation Desert Storm.

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Savage Wilderness 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous 10 days ago
Although the story is interesting the grammatical errors and lack of editorial concern relegate this to a mediocre and distracting read. Several main antagonists simply fade away. Unremarkable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I got this book when it came out... still waiting for the next in the series! 
Guest More than 1 year ago
Until this book, this was a period of History that I paid little attention to as it seemed rather boring. But, though this book is fiction, it really has sparked my interest in that time period. Coyle, as always, does a wonderful job of depicting people in war. One scene in particular, about a woman captive and the need for her Indian captives to satisfy their need for food left me shocked for a couple of days afterwards. Coyle's ability to give the reader vivid images makes one wonder how he could be so accurate unless he'd been there himself!! I highly recommend any book by this Author!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Team Yankee' hooked me on this author and I've bought everything he's written since as soon as the hardcovers hit the racks. I love the mix of historical accuracy, rich character development and gritty realism. You find yourself bonding empathically with his characters.