Thirty years after
the Civil War’s Battle of the Wilderness left him maimed, Abel Truman has found
his way to the edge of the continent, the rugged, majestic coast of Washington
State, where he lives alone in a driftwood shack with his beloved dog. Wilderness
is the story of Abel, now an old and ailing man, and his heroic final journey
over the snowbound Olympic Mountains. It’s a quest he has little hope of
completing but still must undertake to settle matters of the heart that predate
even the horrors of the war.
As Abel makes his
way into the foothills, the violence he endures at the hands of two thugs who
are after his dog is crosscut with his memories of the horrors of the war, the
friends he lost, and the savagery he took part in and witnessed. And yet,
darkness is cut by light, especially in the people who have touched his life—from
Jane Dao-Ming Poole, the daughter of murdered Chinese immigrants, to Hypatia,
an escaped slave who nursed him back to life, and finally to the unbearable
memory of the wife and child he lost as a young man. Haunted by tragedy, loss,
and unspeakable brutality, Abel has somehow managed to hold on to his humanity,
finding kindness along his tortured and ultimately redemptive path.
In its contrasts of light and dark, wild and
tame, brutal and tender, and its attempts to reconcile a horrific war with the
great evil it ended, Wilderness tells not only the moving tale of an
unforgettable character but a story about who we are as human beings, a people,
and a nation. Lance Weller’s immensely impressive debut immediately places him
among our most talented writers. Download and start listening now!