Born in 1805 on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau is the son of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. He is raised both as William Clark’s ward in St. Louis and by his parents among the villages of the Mandan tribe on the far northern reaches of the Missouri river. In 1823 eighteen-year-old Baptiste is invited to cross the Atlantic with the young Duke Paul of WÜrttemberg, whom he meets on the frontier. During their travels throughout Europe, Paul introduces Baptiste to a world he never imagined, and Baptiste ultimately faces a choice: whether to stay in Europe or return to the wilds of North America. As we follow this young man on his intriguing sojourn, this remarkable novel resonates with the richness of three distinct cultures, languages, and customs.
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|Title of Mystery & Detective eBook: Across the Endless River|
|Release Date: 09-01-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House, Inc.|
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|Parent title||Across the Endless...|
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Across the Endless River
February 11, 1805
On the banks of the Missouri, 1,200 miles
upriver from St. Louis
All afternoon her cries could be heard throughout the small
wooden enclosure they called Fort Mandan, winter quarters for
the expedition across the river from one of the tribe’s villages. Two
rows of huts faced each other at an oblique angle within the stockade,
and from one of these the guttural shrieks emerged with a grim regularity.
In and around the other huts the men kept to their business—
skinning game, cutting wood, cleaning guns—but each flinched
inwardly when the next cry reached his ears.
“It’s her first,” René Jesseaume said as he ground an ax blade on a
whetstone inside his hut. “She can’t be more than fifteen; it’s no wonder
she has been at it for so long.”
“All you can do is wait,” said the young soldier across from him,
shaking his head. He continued to dress the elk meat they had hunted
two days before.
“Maybe,” Jesseaume said. He put down the ax, oiled the stone, and
let himself out into the biting cold.
He crossed the central space enclosed by the palisade. On the river
side the American flag snapped fiercely on its pole above the roughhewn
gatehouse, its edges already frayed. Hunched against the bitter
cold wind, he approached the door to the captains’ quarters opposite
his hut. As he prepared to knock, the door opened and Charbonneau,
the squaw’s husband, emerged in a daze. His eyes were rheumy, his
look distracted; he passed Jesseaume without appearing to see him.
Jesseaume knocked lightly on the half-open door and let himself in to<...