Author: Gil Adamson
The girl stood in her ditch under a a hard, small moon. Pale foam rose from where her shoes sank into mud. No more voices inside her head, no noise but these dogs. She saw her own course along the ground as a trail of bright light, now doused in the ditchwater. She clambered up the bank and onto a road, her stiff funeral skirt made of bedspread and curtain, her hair wild and falling in dark ropes about her face. The widow gathered up her shawl and fled witchlike down the empty road. (From The Outlander, page 4)
Gil Adamson's debut novel -- The Outlander -- will create instant fans and, I predict, hit the bestseller lists when it is released in April 2008. The novel opens with a nineteen year old woman fleeing from search dogs after she has murdered her husband. Set in 1903 among the mountain ranges of Western Canada, the novel is breathtaking in its scope and mesmerizing in its detail. Full of suspense, it had me turning the pages long into the night ... and I was sorry to see the novel end; although I believe Adamson has deftly written the ending to allow for a sequel.
Adamson's writing is a mix of Diana Gibaldan and Cormac McCarthy. She expertly creates setting which places the reader into the story and supplies a cast of characters who come alive on the pages. Mary Boulton, the self-made widow, quickly becomes a character the reader relates to -- an unlikely character to evoke sympathy at first, but one whom the reader grows to love. Along with Mary are such memorable personalities as: the red-haired twins (Mary's persistent brother-in-laws), the Reverend Bonnycastle (a pastor who believes in boxing as a way to preach the word), Charlie McEchern (the dwarf with a head for business), the Cregan brothers (charming felons, cattle rustlers and horse thieves), Giovanni (the Italian giant with the gift of brewing whiskey), and finally The Ridgerunner ... a man who needs no one, until he meets Mary.
This novel has it all -- gorgeous scenery, a tantalizing plot, great characters and a sprinkling of romance. I will be watching for more Adamson novels ... and, yes, hoping for that sequel!
Highly recommended; rated 5/5.