The Expedition

by Clayton Bailey
ISBN: 1894283406

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A Review of: The Expedition
by W.P. Kinsella

What a pleasure it is to encounter a novel that has everything going for it. The language is in Technicolor, the characters leap from the page, the story is layered, suspenseful, heartbreaking, and totally engaging. The protagonist is Johanna Reid, a photographer in a dusty western town in 1858 who, for a variety of reasons, has disguised herself as a man.
An expedition is taking shape, led by a Captain Masse. Its purpose is to survey and chart a route to the Pacific Ocean. When the expedition's photographer fails to show up, Reid is hired. The men of the expedition consist of a lover of women, a lover of rivers, and a lover of war, a guide and his Native wife, and a wild, mute native boy who has been lost or abandoned by his tribe. The first two never suspect Reid's subterfuge. However, Captain Masse, the lover of war, who keeps an extensive journal, finds himself strangely attracted to Reid, and eventually divines her secret, though he never gets a chance to tell her, for the members of the expedition are separated when their boats take different channels in a turbulent river. The expedition is lost. Reid and the native woman, Water Music, find sanctuary with a native tribe, much fascinated by Reid's magical photography equipment, only a fraction of which she has saved from the river. Alternately accepted and rejected as a magician by the gentle, sheltering tribe, Reid finds out a great deal about herself, and makes decisions concerning her future. This book has the best cover and design of all first novels this year. Great Plains Publications have three first novels all of which have beautiful, eye-catching covers, and have been designed by people who really care about their product.

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