Also By This Author
“[Vanderhaeghe is] a Dickensian sensationalist. His flair for the lurid can be exquisite. . . . Epic novels can be loose, baggy monsters, but this one is stuffed with enough goodies to keep us entertained for days.” John Vernon, The New York Times Book Review
The Last Crossing
978-0-8021-4175-0 • $14.00 • Paperback • Jan. 2005
A novel of ruggedness and salvation, an epic masterpiece set in a time when worlds collided, were destroyed, and were built anew
The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard- won redemption. Master storyteller Guy Vanderhaeghehailed by Richard Ford as “simply a wonderful writer”takes us on an exhilarating journey from the gleaming spires of Oxford in Victorian England to the dusty whiskey trading posts of the nineteenth-century American and Canadian West.
Englishmen Charles and Addington Gaunt are ordered by their tyrannical industrialist father to find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, set off to remote Fort Benton, in the outreaches of the Montana frontier. The brothers hire the enigmatic Jerry Potts, a half-Blackfoot, half-Scot guide, to lead them north, where Simon was last seen. Addington takes command of the mission, buying enough provisions to fill two wagons, and hires sycophantic journalist Caleb Ayto to record the journey for posterity. As the party heads out, it grows to include Lucy Stoveall, a fiery and beautiful woman who is bent on finding the men who viciously killed her sister; Custis Straw, a Civil War veteran in love with Lucy; and saloonkeeper Aloysius Dooley, loyal friend to Custis Straw. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each one of them to confront his or her own demons.
Told from alternating points of view and in vivid flashbacks, The Last Crossing conveys the varied lives of its search party in haunting scenesa bear hunt at dawn, the discovery of an Indian village decimated by smallpox, a sharpshooter’s devastating annihilation of his prey, a soldier’s guilt-ridden memory of his own survival, and an atypical love story. The Last Crossing is a novel of ruggedness and salvation, an epic masterpiece set in a time when worlds collided, were destroyed, and were built anew.