Thirteen Moons, Charles Frazier, Random House Inc, 2006, 420 pp
It took me a week to read this book. It just wouldn't let me read fast, but I liked it so much. Will Cooper was orphaned at a young age and take in by his aunt and uncle, who sold him into an indentured position when he was 13. His job was to run a remote trading post deep in the Appalachian wilderness, populated by the remnants of the Cherokee nation.
Eventually he is adopted by Bear, an old Indian chief. He also falls in love with a Cherokee girl named Claire, but she is married to another Indian chief. The story winds through the "removal" of the Cherokee nation to the West and Will's passionate but doomed love affair with Claire.
As in Cold Mountain, Frazier's description of the natural world in Virginia is exquisite. His depiction of Indians is the most unique I've read. The tone is sad but ironic and Cooper is a hero of mythic proportions. This is one of those books that grabbed me and wouldn't let go, that inhabited my dreams and made me feel privileged to be a reader.