At the age of twelve, an orphan named Will Cooper is given a horse, a key, and a map and is sent on a journey through the uncharted wilderness of the Cherokee Nation. Will is a bound boy, obliged to run a remote Indian trading post.
As he fulfills his lonesome duty, Will finds a father in Bear, a Cherokee chief, and is adopted by him and his people, developing relationships that ultimately forge Will’s character. All the while, his love of Claire, the enigmatic and captivating charge of volatile and powerful Featherstone, will forever rule Will’s heart.
In a voice filled with both humor and yearning, Will tells of a lifelong search for home, the hunger for fortune and adventure, the rebuilding of a trampled culture, and above all an enduring pursuit of passion.
2007 SIBA Book Award Winner
2007 Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize Winner
Named One of the Best Books of the Year by
Los Angeles Times Book Review, Chicago Tribune,
and St. Louis Post-Dispatch
New York Times bestseller
Publishers Weekly bestseller
USA Today bestseller
Praise for Thirteen Moons
"Gorgeous…Thirteen Moons calls Cold Mountain to mind in its wonder at the natural world; its pacificist undercurrents; its dismay at the dismantling of what matters, and its convication that one love, no matter how tortured and inexplicable, can be life-defining…fascinating…vivid and alive."
"Thirteen Moons brings this vanished world thrillingly to life… One of the great Native American, and American stories, and a great gift to all of us, from one of our very best writers."
—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"There are things so masterful words can’t do them justice. Frazier’s writing falls in that category…With Thirteen Moons, he’s doing important work filling in the gaps, helping restore the roots, of our knowledge of our own history."
"Fascinating…Reading Thirteen Moons is an intoxicating experience…This is 21st-century literary fiction at its very best."
"Thirteen Moons is rare in many ways and occupies a literary plane of such height that reviewing it is not really salient….Thirteen Moons has the power to inspire great performances from succeeding generations of writers….For those who simply value the literary experience, Thirteen Moons will provide the immense satisfaction of taking a literary journey of magnitude. Whether on a plane, in an office or curled in a window seat, readers who absorb Will’s story will find their own lives enriched….Thirteen Moons belongs to the ages."
—Los Angeles Times
"Magical…the history lesson in Thirteen Moons is fascinating and moving…You will find much to admire and savor in Thirteen Moons."
"With pristine prose that's often wry, Frazier brings a rough-and-tumble pioneer past magnificently to life, indicts America with painful bluntness for the betrayal of its native people and recounts a romance rife with sadness."
"Verdict: A powerhouse second act….a brilliant success…Frazier’s second act should convince everyone that he’s here to stay. It is a powerful, dramatic, often surprising and memorable novel."
—Atlanta Journal Constitution
"Thirteen Moons is a boisterous, confident novel that draws from the epic tradition… Frazier is a natural storyteller, and throughout his picaresque tale are grand themes and eulogies"
"Warm hearted…Frazier is a remarkably meticulous and tasteful writer… Thirteen Moons is a worthy successor to the first novel and a highly readable book."
"To Charles Frazier, words are playthings. Like very few other contemporary American novelists, he puts them together in such a way that they can transform an otherwise mundane moment, scene or conversation into one that is transcendent….No sophomore jinx here. Reading a Frazier novel is like listening to a fine symphony. He’s a maestro whose pen is his baton, beckoning the best that each sentence has to offer. And just as you wouldn’t rush a conductor, you should take the time to savor Frazier’s work, to take in each thought, to relish the turn of phrase or the imagery of a craftsman."
"Two for two…Here is a book brimming with vivid, adventurous incident…Charles Frazier set himself a daunting challenge with this book. He set out to write a historical novel that was retrospective and meditative, yet still vibrant and immediate with life. Thirteen Moons succeeds in classy fashion."
—Raleigh News & Observer
"If current fiction is anything to go by, it’s hard for a novelist to make Santayana’s puzzle pieces – lyricism, comedy, tragedy – fit together, as they do in real life and real history. Frazier has done it…Thirteen Moons makes you feel that change that happened so long before our own time, and makes you mourn it."
"Thirteen Moons is a fitting successor to Cold Mountain…fans of Frazier’s debut will be cheered to discover that the new book is another compulsively readable work of historical fiction."
—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"If there is any doubt that Frazier is an incredibly gifted storyteller – and not just a lucky name or a one-hit wonder – it will be put to rest with the publication of Thirteen Moons. Within 10 pages, this long-awaited new novel bears the reader swiftly out of the waking world into its own imagined universe like nothing else published this year."
—Minneapolis Star Tribune
"Forget the sophomore jinx. Frazier demonstrates that Cold Mountain was no one-hit wonder with this fully realized historical novel again set in the South….Again, Frazier shows himself a master of landscape and language, both often fresh and surprising in his telling."
"Thirteen Moons contains achingly beautiful passages of snowfalls, fog-wrapped rivers and moonlit forests. There are ribald and hilarious events, too, including a description of the Cherokee Booger Dance that is a masterpiece of satire. The love affair between Cooper and Claire threads its way through this pseudo-historic epic like a brilliant, scarlet ribbon. There is also a melancholy refrain that celebrates a wondrous time and place that is gone and will never return."
—Smoky Mountain News
"Fiction of the highest order…Another indelible character. Charles Frazier has a knack for them."
"What a story!… Frazier’s creation, Will Cooper, is utterly charismatic….Frazier’s genius lies in his ability to convey emotions that feel pure and genuine…It was worth the wait."
—Dayton Daily News