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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Story. . .A love story
I must qualify my review by saying that cold Mountain was one of my favorite reads of the 1990s and I have patiently been waiting for Mr. Fraizer's sophomore effort. I was thrilled to receive an advance readers copy through a friend in the industry! The great news is "Thirteen Moons" proves the author is more than a one hit wonder. This is historical fiction at its...
Published on 3 Oct 2006 by Phil Gaston

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Saga
An American saga. Will Cooper looks back on his life and reflects on his reluctance to accept "modern ways". Will, an orphan at 12, becomes "bound" to a store owner and is sent off from his home to run a trading post in a remote community of Indians (with a few rag-tag white folks) He wins a girl at a card game - and he continually longs for her to be his. Chief Bear...
Published on 15 Dec 2007 by Wynne Kelly


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60 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Story. . .A love story, 3 Oct 2006
By 
This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
I must qualify my review by saying that cold Mountain was one of my favorite reads of the 1990s and I have patiently been waiting for Mr. Fraizer's sophomore effort. I was thrilled to receive an advance readers copy through a friend in the industry! The great news is "Thirteen Moons" proves the author is more than a one hit wonder. This is historical fiction at its best, as we follow the first person account of the 19th century frontier life of Will Cooper. Ala "Little Big Man" this is a first person account told by an old man at start of a new century, his life a relic of the past. I loved the opening chapter as the 90 year old, cantankerous Will answers his phone, and in the white noise of this modern marvel he can hear the voice of his lost love Claire.

Will Cooper starts out as an orphan who is sold by his relatives to an "antique gentleman" who puts young Will to work at a remote trading post. Here he comes in contact with the great Cherokee Nation. Will's life blossoms and he has great success and terrible failures as a lawyer, a merchant, and even a state senator. Through all of this his bonds with the Cherokees remains strong and central to the story, he even is made a white chief of the nation. Through the structure of Wills life the story of the Cherokee Nation is told. He bears witness to the heartbreaking removal of the people from their land and the tragic "Trail of Tears." Will fights for the confederacy during the Civil War, and meets many of the iconic figures of the times such as Davey Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Through out his life Will is haunted by the memory of his one true love, Claire, a girl he won in a card game when he was 12. (I am reminded of Gus's Clara from "Lonesome Dove"-I guess we all have our Clara?). This love story is central to the tale and is what binds the story into a cohesive unit. The story does tend to amble at times, but this will not be a problem for those who love Frazier's prose. This is a rich, enthralling, yet in many ways melancholic story of one mans life and times and his one true love. Highly recommended!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective on the Frontier, 26 April 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
The Frontier is a central concept in the American experience. While the most progress was usually made in the crowded cities of the East, the new American spirit, psychology, and perspective were born in the Frontier. Few can tell you much about Robert Fulton or Commodore Vanderbilt, but almost everyone can say something accurate about Davy Crockett.

In recent years, it has become popular to take the exalted view of the Frontier and to turn it into post-Modern ordinariness. Some do that with humor. Others do it by patching together wildly improbable events. I applaud those efforts because they bring balance back into something that has become too much of a myth.

Thirteen Moons is another shift in perspective, but one that's a shift aimed at creating a more normal view of the Frontier . . . one that escaped all but a few who actually lived in the Frontier. It's a perspective that views the Native American experience with the same validity and sympathy as the Frontiersmen's experiences. I found that refreshing.

So what's the story? Will Cooper, an orphan, is sold off as a bound apprentice to a trader and is to serve as the head of a trading post at the edge of the then-independent Cherokee Nation. Cooper's contacts are daily with the Native Americans and very rarely with those who resupply him. Not surprisingly, he grows up with a combined perspective that appreciates what "civilization" brings but honors and is uplifted by the real support he receives from Bear, the chief who adopts him into the tribe.

Cooper honors that relationship, even after the tide turns and the American government evicts the Cherokees. What's the plan? Cooper buys up enough of the unwanted high-altitude land to allow Bear's people to have a home without being moved further West.

But in some ways it's a lonely vigil because Cooper loses the love of his life.

As you read the story, you'll find it jumbled and stilted in places. That's not because Charles Frazier couldn't have told a smoother story, but because Mr. Frazier wanted you to know more about the history of those times than you probably know now. He wants you to know that some Native Americans were plantation owners and slave holders. He also wants you to know that the government didn't play fair with the Native Americans. Further, he wants you to see the senselessness of the sentiment against Native Americans. He also wants you to feel the intensity and challenge of trying to walk in both worlds . . . it cannot quite be done without selling your soul every so often.

If you are willing to be challenged into thinking what you would have done as Will Cooper, you'll adore the book. If you find yourself wanting more to be entertained, you won't like it as much. It'll seem like an average book to you.

The only serious flaw I saw was that the stories of Featherstone and Claire receive more attention than was necessary to accomplish the book's apparent purpose. As such, they distract and slow down what could have been a more compact, intense, and challenging book.

But if you are open to seeing the Frontier in a new way, you should read this book. It'll expand your horizons.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An American Saga, 15 Dec 2007
By 
Wynne Kelly "Kellydoll" (Coventry, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Paperback)
An American saga. Will Cooper looks back on his life and reflects on his reluctance to accept "modern ways". Will, an orphan at 12, becomes "bound" to a store owner and is sent off from his home to run a trading post in a remote community of Indians (with a few rag-tag white folks) He wins a girl at a card game - and he continually longs for her to be his. Chief Bear adopts him as a member of the Cherokee tribe, he takes part in the Civil War and eventually becomes a member of the senate.

Some brilliant evocative scenes, such as his time in the wilderness trying to survive and find his way to the store and the actual running of the store. His description of how the Indian tribes were forced out of their homelands is particularly harrowing.

The language is a bit flowery in parts but the whole story is told with warmth and affection for a lost world.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificent trail of a novel, 26 Mar 2007
By 
Laura Merton "Lozzapug" (Monte Carlo) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
It's been a long time since I enjoyed a book as much as this, as much for the writing itself as the story. Normally I am annoyed by literary self-consciousness from a writer but Charles Frazier manages to convey so beautifully, movingly and simply the details of his hero's life, from the major events to mundanities rich with significance. I found myself reading passages over and over again to relish their aching beauty.

It's true that this is not some tightly-plotted story. A very old man looks back on his life; he has lived through a period of tremendous change, and this book is a reflection of the sorrow and inevitability of change we all experience. It is also a book about belonging, unrequited longing, loneliness, and acceptance as well as friendship, purpose and natural wonder. North Carolina, its mountains, water and terrible beauty, is a main character in the book. Frazier's thoughts on the treatment of Indians in 19th century, and their lost wisdom, teaches us a great deal as well. And you come to know and love Will Cooper, its hero, and mourn for him when you leave its pages.

This is a novel to savour and dwell with, not a novel to grip you with tension. But shouldn't there be time in our lives for such savouring? If you read it with this in mind, it might become what it has for me, a novel you can see yourself reading over and over again with something new and affecting embracing you each time.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT A COLD MOUNTAIN, 7 Nov 2011
By 
Alexander Bryce (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Paperback)
This life story of Will Cooper told in the first person a la "Little Big Man" starts so well as he looks back on his life from his humorous and yes cantankerous old age. I settled down to , I hoped , an informative, action tale of the old frontier lands beyond the Carolinas. Alas an excellent story of the shameful ethnic cleansing of the native Americans, the theft of the lands they had held for millenia and the corruption in high office became lost in rather tedious, over long, repetative descriptions of fairly irrelevant incident. As I was on holiday when I picked this one up I had time to read about 100 pages per day and therefore I did not lose the track of the underlying narrative . Had I been reading 20 to 30 pages per day I would have possibly lost the thread and given up before the end .
Having said that , there is much good in this work with fully drawn characters of all shades, loving relationships and at times high drama as Will describes his life from ambitious young lad to wealthy, influential land owner with all the ups and downs on his long journey into old age. The love he won and lost , the respect which he earned and the episodes in his life for which he felt only a sense of shame . For me there was a special interest in the regular reference to the Scottish influence and Mr. Frazier's obvious appreciation and knowledge of single malt whisky.
As always Charles Frazier has done his research and writes with believable authority. While this is not a "Cold Mountain" it is a worthwhile novel as long as you have time to devote to lengthy reading sessions.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wet Wet Wet, 10 April 2007
By 
R. J. Preddy "ron4912" (Seaford East Sussex England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
Clearly judging from the other reviews this is a novel which divides opinions amongst its readers. 'Cold Mountain' will always remain in my top ten lists of best books. However this book was a major disapointment to me, so much emphasis on characterisation and scenery at the expense of the narrative. It starts off well and bears all the hallmarks of Charles Frazier's beautifully constructed prose but the story quickly peters out and by the end I found I didn't really care what happened to Will along the intermittently interesting journey through his (overlong) life. For me the true focus of Frazer's novel was the sodden North Carolinan terrain which was invariably wet. He made NC seem like an equatorial rain forest and at one point in the book I felt like putting on a rain-coat as Frazer seemed to run out of adjectives for water. Overall this book felt like the author ran out of 'steam' half way through, almost as if he wrote the second half of the novel,a chapter at a time ,with a long gap in-between. So disappointing I did not offer it to any of my friends to read afterwards. I am sure that Frazer has one more great novel in him but this sadly was not it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A New Perspective on the Frontier, 26 April 2007
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Audio CD)
The Frontier is a central concept in the American experience. While the most progress was usually made in the crowded cities of the East, the new American spirit, psychology, and perspective were born in the Frontier. Few can tell you much about Robert Fulton or Commodore Vanderbilt, but almost everyone can say something accurate about Davy Crockett.

In recent years, it has become popular to take the exalted view of the Frontier and to turn it into post-Modern ordinariness. Some do that with humor. Others do it by patching together wildly improbable events. I applaud those efforts because they bring balance back into something that has become too much of a myth.

Thirteen Moons is another shift in perspective, but one that's a shift aimed at creating a more normal view of the Frontier . . . one that escaped all but a few who actually lived in the Frontier. It's a perspective that views the Native American experience with the same validity and sympathy as the Frontiersmen's experiences. I found that refreshing.

So what's the story? Will Cooper, an orphan, is sold off as a bound apprentice to a trader and is to serve as the head of a trading post at the edge of the then-independent Cherokee Nation. Cooper's contacts are daily with the Native Americans and very rarely with those who resupply him. Not surprisingly, he grows up with a combined perspective that appreciates what "civilization" brings but honors and is uplifted by the real support he receives from Bear, the chief who adopts him into the tribe.

Cooper honors that relationship, even after the tide turns and the American government evicts the Cherokees. What's the plan? Cooper buys up enough of the unwanted high-altitude land to allow Bear's people to have a home without being moved further West.

But in some ways it's a lonely vigil because Cooper loses the love of his life.

As you read the story, you'll find it jumbled and stilted in places. That's not because Charles Frazier couldn't have told a smoother story, but because Mr. Frazier wanted you to know more about the history of those times than you probably know now. He wants you to know that some Native Americans were plantation owners and slave holders. He also wants you to know that the government didn't play fair with the Native Americans. Further, he wants you to see the senselessness of the sentiment against Native Americans. He also wants you to feel the intensity and challenge of trying to walk in both worlds . . . it cannot quite be done without selling your soul every so often.

If you are willing to be challenged into thinking what you would have done as Will Cooper, you'll adore the book. If you find yourself wanting more to be entertained, you won't like it as much. It'll seem like an average book to you.

The only serious flaw I saw was that the stories of Featherstone and Claire receive more attention than was necessary to accomplish the book's apparent purpose. As such, they distract and slow down what could have been a more compact, intense, and challenging book.

But if you are open to seeing the Frontier in a new way, you should read this book. It'll expand your horizons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, 18 Jun 2010
This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
The sublime analagous language of Cold Mountain is here. For this reader, there were at times rather too much of it. Indeed, I was originally defeated by the book when I bought it four years ago. But having returned to it, I pushed myself through the early chapters dealing with the boyhood of Will Cooper (the narrator)where I found the character somewhat distant -- or hard to believe in, even.

Just when the narrative began to wear, things 'happened' in the plot to pique my interest enough to keep turning the pages.

Weaknesses include the pages of 'narrative summary' to cover 'off-stage' events, though such inclusion is probably a structural necessity given the long and intense life of the narrator, a life bound to those of his adopted people. It is here, for example, that Will developed his political career. Indeed, there is enough material in the book to drive several novels.

Another clunkiness is the way the narrator renders, in the same elaborate detail, events at which 'he' was not present.

The book, however, becomes increasingly poignant as it progresses. The relationship between Will and Claire is the emotional heart of the story, shaping the boy and then the man. The author does not allow sentimentality to intrude; there is no happy ending in the sense of a romantic novel. (In that, it is like Cold Mountain... but in a different way.) Claire remains an enigma, but is all the more real for it.

At the end of the book, Will testifies to the fallibility of his memory, and his dislike for photography. This chapter went a long way to alleviating my above unease at the level of descriptive detail. What is read is a man's experience of life, a composite of senses and emotion brought to bear in the solitude of waiting to go to the Nightland.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a little bit of editing would not have gone amiss, 7 Sep 2008
By 
This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Hardcover)
This lacks the emotional depth of Cold Mountain but it is a story well told of Will Cooper, whose own life story he relates while waiting for the trains to go by his house. Will Cooper's tale is extraordinary and through him we get to understand the ethnic cleansing of the native American Indian. His rise to prominence and fall from grace are well depicted and Charles Frazier paints a vivid picture of the countryside steadily being stripped of its wildlife in the name of progress and of the local people being stripped of their own identity and status. A book which contains much to brood over even when it is finished.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost in another time, 5 Jan 2008
This review is from: Thirteen Moons (Paperback)
I loved it. I felt I was inside Will's head - I liked his rambles, and I longed for Claire to come back to him, but it wasn't to be and I cried at his loneliness. But most of all I loved the vision it gave of the last of the Cherokee and his and Bear's struggle to keep them in their own country. I've just ordered the biography of the real Will Thomas on whom I presume this is based so let's see how much of it is true.
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Thirteen Moons
Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier (Paperback - 4 Oct 2007)
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