"The Revenant" is like a throwback to the frontier adventure novels of the 1950s, which isn't a bad thing if you like your history on the rare side, like a good steak. This book is the basis for the film due out in December. Be sure watch the movie trailer on YouTube for a preview.
For starters, the title of this book sent me to the dictionary. A "revenant" is someone who comes back from the dead-not a zombie in this case, but mountain man Hugh Glass, who is horribly mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead. He is motivated by a desire for revenge against those who abandoned him as well as the simple need for survival in the wilderness. There are stretches of this novel vast as the Great Plains without a word of dialogue, but there's still plenty of tension. Who knew there could be so much drama in simply building a fire? My favorite scene is when Glass fights a wolf pack in order to get some fresh meat.
This novel isn't worried about being politically correct-most Indians are treacherous and murderous, Glass shoots buffalo with abandon, and the mountain men heroically trap the fur-bearing population into annihilation. This story has no touchy feely "Dances with Wolves" environmental messages-Glass would have shot that wolf on sight and skinned it.
It helps to keep in mind that Glass was a real person and "The Revenant" is a fictionalized version of actual events. As a portrayal of mountain men and the frontier times in which they survived, it's a gripping and fascinating read.
Recommended by David Healey