Book review: The Outlander by Gil Adamson

29 Sep

It was night, and dogs came through the trees, unleashed and howling. They burst from the cover of the woods and their shadows swam across a moonlit field.

It is 1903 and Mary Boulton, 19, is on the run in the Rocky Mountains. Having killed her husband, she is steadily pursued through rugged terrain by her two red-headed brothers-in-law, armed and furious about their brother’s death.

The Outlander is the first novel by Toronto writer Gil Adamson, who had previously published works of poetry and short stories. Starting at a cracking pace, the novel settles into a steady rhythm as we follow Mary on a wild ride. She endures freezing nights in the mountains, risking frostbite and starvation as she desperately hides from her pursuers. Wild animals shuffle around her at night. Having been raised by her father and grandmother after her mother’s death, Mary’s well-heeled upbringing provides her with little useful knowledge for such conditions.

Fortunately for Mary, several likeable, unusual characters spring up in the nick of time to help. William Moreland, a solitary man who has lived in the mountains for nine years, becomes more than just a rescuer, and later, the friendly Reverend Bonnycastle changes Mary’s life. The rugged environment seems to house an unexpected number of kind souls.

As someone who has spent some time in Alberta and B.C., I loved the setting of the story and the descriptions of the Rockies. I could picture the startlingly beautiful meadow flowers and the animals that inhabit the area, and imagine how cold and bleak that location would be without the appropriate gear.

Read as part of the Canadian Book Challenge, The Outlander was a great read with memorable characters and a Hollywood-worthy ending.



17 Responses to “Book review: The Outlander by Gil Adamson”

  1. steph September 29, 2010 at 8:06 pm #

    I simply cannot wait to read this. But I must! I can’t spend any money right now and it’s not one I want to borrow…

    Great review! That quote you opened with was enough to snag me. 🙂

    • PrairieJournals September 30, 2010 at 7:31 am #

      I’m in the same predicament as you! I need to read the books I own and stop buying more. But I’m going to Las Vegas next week and I think it would be the perfect time to finally read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas…so maybe one more purchase!

  2. Buried In Print October 1, 2010 at 10:16 am #

    I found this a really gripping read. And, funnily enough, it sticks in my mind that I was reading it on the subway after work one day and ended up sitting next to a woman who was also reading it and was just a few pages behind me; it’s the first time I’ve ever started a conversation on transit with a stranger about the book I was, er, we were, reading, and it was a neat conversation (and then we went back to reading, of course, because it’s an exciting tale after all).

    • PrairieJournals October 1, 2010 at 6:20 pm #

      That’s fantastic! I love it when books get people talking, especially in situations where you wouldn’t usually connect. I’m usually shy, but when someone is reading or talking about a book I’ve read or want to read, I can’t get the words out fast enough.

  3. Suzanne October 1, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    This sounds like an interesting book with a great sense of place.

    • PrairieJournals October 2, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      That’s a great description for the book, Suzanne. The sense of place is intense, which is one of the things I enjoyed most about it. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Nicola Manning October 2, 2010 at 4:41 am #

    I’ve really been wanting to read this too! It sounds just like my kind of book. I must put it on my wishlist before I forget about it again!

    • PrairieJournals October 2, 2010 at 8:19 am #

      I’m sure you will enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by, Nicola.

  5. Wanda October 2, 2010 at 8:45 am #

    I had a friend recommend this book as one I would like. Problem was, I only had the title on a napkin when I went to look it up and found the other “Outlander”. I thought my friend had lost her marbles, lol! Will get around to this book eventually, glad to hear you enjoyed the read.

    • PrairieJournals October 2, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

      Yes, the other Outlander is certainly a different kind of book to this one! I hope you enjoy Gil Adamson’s Outlander when you get to it. Thanks for visiting my blog, Wanda.

  6. Col October 2, 2010 at 9:24 am #

    I have heard of this book often but have yet to pick it up. Thanks for this review, I will add it to my book list. My only problem is that my book list is getting soooo long. 🙂 But at the same time it is a comfort to know that so many good books lie in wait thus avoiding that no-book panic.

    • PrairieJournals October 2, 2010 at 4:13 pm #

      Haha, your book list sounds like mine! I really need to win the lottery soon because I need to quit my job and read full-time.

  7. steph October 2, 2010 at 2:20 pm #

    BIP: That’s an awesome story! I love when stuff like that happens!

  8. Gavin October 2, 2010 at 2:58 pm #

    I’ve been meaning to add this one to my to-be-read list. Now it’s done.

    • PrairieJournals October 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. 🙂

  9. Literary Feline October 10, 2010 at 1:34 am #

    This one is on my TBR pile waiting its turn. I am glad you enjoyed it. I love the premise and the setting and look forward to reading it.

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