Based on the true story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, The Revenant by Michal Punke chronicles Hugh’s rather charmed life. That’s not to say he didn’t face challenges, because he certainly did, but his ability to survive nearly any situation is what made him lucky. Born into a financially stable family in Philadelphia, Glass went to sea at age 16. Captured by renowned pirate Jean Lafitte, he later escapes into the interior of the country where is captured by the Pawnee. He spends a year among the Indians before he escapes to St. Louis.
There he joins Captain Andrew Henry as a trapper along the Missouri and its tributaries. It is here that he faces he first near lethal wound. While out hunting, he is attacked by a grizzly bear. That simple sentence doesn’t convey the true, miserable depths of Glass’ injuries. Henry does his best to care for him, but he’s forced to leave him behind. Unfortunately, the two men left to care for him are less than honorable.
What Fitzgerald and Bridger had done was much more than abandonment, much worse. These were not mere passerby on the road to Jericho, looking away and crossing to the other side. Glass felt no entitlement to a Samaritan’s care, but he did at least expect that his keepers do no harm.
Fitzgerald and Bridger had acted deliberately, robbed him of the few possessions he might have used to save himself. And in stealing from him this opportunity, they had killed him. Murdered him, as surely as a knife in the heart or a bullet in the brain. Murdered him, except he would not die. Would not die, he vowed, because he would live to kill his killers.
Hugh Glass pushed himself up and continued his crawl down the banks of the Grand.
Written in taught prose and visceral detail, Punke brings Glass’ incredible tale of survival and his obsession with revenge to life. Weaving a mix of fiction and historical fact, this novel is fascinating, if not quite a pleasure to read.
On a separate note, although the book and film adaptation are very different, I would recommend very much recommend both. If nothing else, you’ll learn a little and have a renewed appreciation for antibiotics.
Any other movie adaptations coming out this year that I should get reading? I finished The 5th Wave and went to see the movie yesterday. I don’t know that there’s a book that I wanted to love more, but failed miserably.