The Revenant

The Revenant

Book - 2002
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Baker & Taylor
A fictional account of a real-life story of survival on the American frontier chronicles the adventures and exploits of fur trapper Hugh Glass who is attacked by a grizzly bear and abandoned by his fellow trappers who believe that he is mortally wounded and describes how Glass, left alone and defenseless, manages to survive and trek thousands of miles through the wilderness to seek justice.

Perseus Publishing
A startling novel, all the more compelling because its tale of unimaginable human endurance is true, The Revenant unfolds the toll of envy and betrayal as well as the powers of obsession and vengeance in the battle of fur trapper Hugh Glass, first for his life and then for justice. It is 1823, two decades after the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark into the American wilderness, when thirty-six-year-old Hugh Glass joins the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in a speculative venture that takes him and ten other men up the Missouri River into perilous, unexplored territory. Not least among the dangers that await the trapping party is a natural killer, the grizzly bear, as Glass disastrously discovers. Attacked and savagely mauled?his scalp nearly torn off, his back deeply lacerated, his throat clawed open?Glass is lying unconscious when his fellow trappers find him. Against all odds, he is still drawing breath three days later. Anxious to proceed unencumbered by the portage of Glass’s mortally wounded body, the captain of the expedition pays two volunteers?John Fitzgerald, a mercenary, and young Jim Bridger (the future legendary mountain man)?to stay behind and bury Glass when his time comes. Fitzgerald soon loses patience and leaves, taking Glass’s rifle. Horrified by Fitzgerald’s thievery but more terrified of being left behind with a dying man, Bridger also leaves, with Glass’s knife. Deserted and defenseless, the profoundly angry Glass vows his own survival. Miraculously trekking his way through two thousand miles of uncharted wilderness, Glass indeed becomes a revenant?a man who has returned vengefully from death to balance the scales of justice. His quest will leave readers breathless. This amazing true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass is a powerful debut novel -- and soon-to-be Warner Bros. film -- of survival and vengeance in America's West.

A startling novel, all the more compelling because its tale of unimaginable human endurance is true, The Revenant unfolds the toll of envy and betrayal as well as the powers of obsession and vengeance in the battle of fur trapper Hugh Glass, first for his life and then for justice. It is 1823, two decades after the famous expedition of Lewis and Clark into the American wilderness, when thirty-six-year-old Hugh Glass joins the Rocky Mountain Fur Company in a speculative venture that takes him and ten other men up the Missouri River into perilous, unexplored territory. Not least among the dangers that await the trapping party is a natural killer, the grizzly bear, as Glass disastrously discovers. Attacked and savagely mauled?his scalp nearly torn off, his back deeply lacerated, his throat clawed open?Glass is lying unconscious when his fellow trappers find him. Against all odds, he is still drawing breath three days later. Anxious to proceed unencumbered by the portage of Glass's mortally wounded body, the captain of the expedition pays two volunteers?John Fitzgerald, a mercenary, and young Jim Bridger (the future legendary mountain man)?to stay behind and bury Glass when his time comes. Fitzgerald soon loses patience and leaves, taking Glass's rifle. Horrified by Fitzgerald's thievery but more terrified of being left behind with a dying man, Bridger also leaves, with Glass's knife. Deserted and defenseless, the profoundly angry Glass vows his own survival. Miraculously trekking his way through two thousand miles of uncharted wilderness, Glass indeed becomes a revenant?a man who has returned vengefully from death to balance the scales of justice. His quest will leave readers breathless. This amazing true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass is a powerful debut novel -- and soon-to-be Warner Bros. film -- of survival and vengeance in America's West.


Blackwell North Amer
Punke's novel opens in 1823, two decades after the trailblazing expedition of Lewis and Clark, when thirty-six-year-old Hugh Glass joins the Rocky Mountain Fur Co. on a venture into perilous, unexplored territory. A seasoned frontiersman, Glass is scouting ahead of the main troop when he is attacked and savagely mauled by a grizzly bear. His wounds are grievous - scalp nearly torn off, back deeply lacerated, throat clawed open - and he is unconscious when his fellow trappers find him. Though they wait for Glass's death, he is still drawing breath three days later.
Facing hostile territory and the press of winter, the expeditions captain pays two volunteers - John Fitzgerald, a ruthless mercenary, and young Jim Bridger, the future "King of the Moutain Men" - to stay behind and bury Glass when his time comes. But the fidelity of these volunteers proves short-lived.
When Indians approach their camp, Fitzgerald and Bridger abandon Glass. Worse yet, they rob the wounded man of his rifle and knife, even his flint and steel - the very things that might have given him a chance on his own. Deserted, defenseless, and furious, Glass vows his survival. And his revenge.

Baker
& Taylor

A story of survival on the American frontier chronicles the exploits of fur trapper Hugh Glass, who is attacked by a grizzly bear and left for dead by his fellow trappers, but survives and treks through the wilderness to seek justice.

Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf Publishers, c2002
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780786710270
0786710276
Characteristics: 262 p. : ill., map ; 24 cm

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stewstealth
Sep 27, 2017

Story of survival in the the early nineteenth century of America. The novel does not do a very good job of character development and the narrative pace is a bit slow for an epic adventure. Though the book touches on some big themes such as Justice vs Law, Revenge and Forgiveness it really does not explore them very well in the story. The book appears very detailed in it's portrayal of the frontier life and is worth reading just for that if you are interested in the subject. A quick read that would have been much better as a longer exploration of the themes touched on in the story and if it included motivations of the Indians portrayed in the novel.

a
Andrew Kyle Bacon
Jun 25, 2017

Absolutely great novel. It's a harrowing tale of a man's ability to push himself beyond the natural limitations of mankind. The book delves into historical details a tad bit too much for my taste, the author is a history professor, but when it stays focused on its main narrative it does so with incredible precision and pointedness. The central story of Hugh Glass is mesmerizing and his determination and anger pour off of the page. This is Punke's first, and only to my knowledge, work of fiction, but it is poignant and lucid in its storytelling. This novel is highly recommended to those who are interested in the history of the American frontier, western stories in general, and man's ability to push himself. The best part of this novel is looking into the true history behind its story. The final portion of the book is a note on the historicity of the novel and is very interesting. I loved this book even if it did need some trimming and editing here or there.

l
LucasHill
Apr 22, 2017

One wonders how Glass stayed alive.

l
ladyhawke1003
Feb 21, 2017

Revenant: a person who has returned especially, supposedly, from the dead (Oxford Dictionary)

Hugh Glass, does not die, but comes close, when he is brutally mauled by a mother grizzly on a bank of the Grand River in 1823. A fur trapper with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, his wit and skills and some strong Sioux medicine enable him to survive the fall and winter. Glass is abandoned by two company men, Fitzgerald and Bridger, charged with making sure he's given a proper burial. The thing is: they don't just leave him to die, they take the only things that might enable him to live: his rifle, his knife, his flint and steel. But live he does; if only to pursue them and get his stuff back.

Written with plenty of detail and historical authority, Michael Punke leads us through the plains and river valleys east of the Rocky Mountains: the land of the Sioux, Arikara, and Mandan people. The Sioux and the trappers have been allies in a war with the Arikara, and it is an old Sioux medicine man who really saves Glass's life by killing the maggots that have burrowed inside his festering back wounds.

This is a historical novel that reads like non-fiction. The author, Michael Punke, explains in his Historical Notes that the main events are true to history. I haven't read an omniscient viewpoint for a long time--agents and editors stress that scenes by narrated by one character in limited omniscient--so I notice when we pass through several minds within a chapter. It's not distracting; just different. The writing is almost objective--written like a journal article. We never go deep inside this man, who suffers agonizing wounds to body, mind, and spirit. And I ask myself: what is Glass thinking besides how to find his next meal?

Michael Punke is a D.C. lawyer and deputy U.S. trade representative and ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Switzerland. He wrote this novel in his spare time, ten years before it was adapted for film. I read the novel first.

The award-winning film is "based in part on the novel" and a small part it is. The main characters, Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio), Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Jim Bridger, and Captain Henry are here, as is the main theme of revenge. But everything else is bolder, much more complex, and visceral. By adding other key characters and subplots, the screenwriters dramatize what falls fairly flat on the page. This is where we begin to understand what Glass is thinking as he rises from the dead to pursue Fitzgerald through spectacularly perilous country.

Besides incredible directing by Alejandro González Iñárritu and brilliant acting, what's memorable is the cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Filmed near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and Argentina, the film presents what we can only imagine frontier life might have been like in the 1820s. (To view stills and read more on the locations click here.) This is no romance, thought heart-wrenching spiritual moments lead us to the abyss more than once.

j
johnlau_0
Aug 15, 2016

The writing is competent, and that's about it. The entire book feels like reading a newspaper article or a text book. Very boring. This shouldn't be surprising, since Punke is more of a journalist/historian by trade.

Given the source material, this could have been fun, but it's a disappointment. At least it was easy to read.

s
scrat1968
Jun 03, 2016

Stellar writing really captures the absolute fury in this man.

l
lukasevansherman
May 27, 2016

I'm sure a lot of people (like me), picked this up because of the movie, which was brutally beautiful and punishingly long. Based on the true story of Hugh Glass, a trapper mauled by a grizzly and then left to lie, "The Revenant" may be a little puzzling to those who have seen the movie. The basic story is the same, but the rivalry between Glass and Fitzgerald is played up in the movie and Glass has a son, who is an important part of the story. The book is more understated and, frankly, pretty boring. Sure, it's an incredible story of survival, but Michael Punke's prose is flat and he has little idea of how to tell a compelling story. In his defense, he's the U.S. ambassador to the W.T.O., so he probably doesn't have much time to polish his work. "Blood and Thunder" is a better book about the frontier and "Butcher's Crossing" (John Williams) is a better book about buffalo hunting.

l
LoveChild60
May 24, 2016

I wasn't sure I'd like this book, but did I ever! I dreaded it ending. I could have never lived in those times though. I've not seen the movie but have been told it's very good. I don't think I could have kept myself from killing the one who stole the rifle though. I was so ticked at how Glass was treated by that guy, I wanted to climb into the book and kick his butt myself. I normally don't care too much for this sort of book, but I enjoyed it very much. A def 5 star read!

h
hRuth
Mar 06, 2016

I liked The Revenant; am compelled by stories of 'man' against nature. I like to read a complete story before I see the movie. In spite of the brutality of the time & story, there were a few spots of lovely prose... e.g. p.43 the description of how a lone pine grows from rock. I felt it ended with a 'thud' but morally it was right.

7
7626dee
Mar 04, 2016

Well written historical novel which shows the harshness of the land and people in this early opening of the West. I can't help but cheer for the natives knowing their inevitable fate. Glass was a very interesting persona and a survivor. The length of his incredible trek cannot be appreciated by modern humans.

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black_cat_3047
Mar 09, 2016

black_cat_3047 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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