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by Jeffrey Lent
ISBN 0330493817 / 9780330493819 / 0-330-49381-7
› Find signed collectible books: 'Lost Nation'
In his second novel, Lost Nation, Jeffrey Lent follows Blood, a mysterious rogue attempting to make a new life for himself in Indian Stream, an ungoverned territory in 19th-century northern New Hampshire. Intending to start a trading business, Blood brings with him rum, supplies, and Sally, a 16-year-old girl he won in a card game from the madam of a brothel. A rugged "man of contradictions," Blood is learned and occasionally kind, yet capable of considerable cruelty and violence. Rumors quickly circulate in Indian Stream regarding his troubled past, and Blood is made a scapegoat when conflicts escalate in the area following his arrival. As Blood's history is gradually revealed, it becomes clear that his only chance at redemption is through confrontation.
Demonstrating his gift for narration, Lent has created a rich and entertaining novel from this somewhat familiar outline, filled with well-developed characters and stark, evocative descriptions. In its epic, unflinching style and omniscient voice, Lent's prose is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and Faulkner, to whom he is often compared. Wolves, scoundrels, and barbaric natives abound, and Lent never shies away from the gritty, realistic detail appropriate for the novel's harsh setting. Though light on profundities, Lost Nation should offer readers many engaging reasons to return. --Ross Doll [via]