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N.C. mountains are the main characters of Thirteen Moons



Although we mostly feature newly released books in Book Biz, that’s not a requirement for a mention here. I sometimes go to my bookshelves in search of something to read and discover a book I’ve previously passed over for one reason or another. If I enjoy it, I wonder why I didn’t read it sooner. Such is the case with thirteen moons by Charles Frazier.

It was published in 2006 by the acclaimed author of Cold Mountain, winner of the National Book Award. And oh yes, I’m aware that Frazier released a new book, Nightwoods, in 2011. (He likes short titles, doesn’t he?) thirteen moons was in a box of books given to me by a kind person to help replenish my library following Hurricane Katrina.

If writers write what they know, then Frazier knows the mountains of North Carolina very well. There are colorful characters, history and lots of action in thirteen moons, but arguably these beautiful, timeless mountains are the real star — the main character — of this engrossing book. Frazier seems to hold them in reverential awe.

The tale is the story of a remarkable man, Will Cooper, and the equally remarkable Cherokees, spanning a century of change.

thirteen-moons-cover_rgbAt the age of 12, Cooper is orphaned. He is given a horse, a key and a map and sent on a journey through the wilderness to the edge of the Cherokee Nation – uncharted white space on the map at that time.

A bound boy, he is obliged to run a remote Indian trading post. He is adopted by a Cherokee chief, learns the language and develops relationships that forge his character.

As an old man, Cooper looks back on his search for a home, the hunger for fortune and adventure, the rebuilding of a trampled culture and the pursuit of passion.

I like Frazier’s use of language and style; it’s far from simplistic, yet flows in an easy way.


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