The Last Crossing: A Novel

The Last Crossing: A Novel

Guy Vanderhaeghe

Language: English

Pages: 416

ISBN: 0802141757

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The Last Crossing is a sweeping tale of breathtaking quests, adventurous detours, and hard-won redemption. Englishmen Charles and Addington Gaunt are ordered by their tyrannical industrialist father to find their brother Simon, who has gone missing in the wilds of the American West. Charles, a disillusioned artist, and Addington, a disgraced military captain, set off to remote Fort Benton on the edge of the Montana frontier. The brothers hire the enigmatic Jerry Potts, a half Blackfoot, half Scot guide, to lead them North, where Simon was last seen. Addington takes command of the mission, buying enough provisions to fill two wagons, and hires sycophantic journalist Caleb Ayto to record the journey for posterity. As the party heads out, it grows to include the fiery Lucy Stoveall, Civil War veteran Custis Straw, and saloonkeeper Aloysius Dooley. This unlikely posse becomes entangled in an unfolding drama that forces each one of them to confront personal demons. Told from alternating points of view with vivid flashbacks, The Last Crossing is a novel of ruggedness and salvation, an epic masterpiece set in a time when worlds collided, were destroyed, and were built anew.

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sniffs his hand, the salty blood that bathed it when he cut the deer haunch to pieces and scattered it in the wood, his gift for the foxes, the ravens. Somehow the blood reminds him of the smell of a woman on his fingers. Sexual congress. He holds his fingers beneath his nose and breathes it in, drinks in the memory of sweet Pearl, his best girl. What a discovery she had been, found among the gay freelances of the Burlington Arcade, haunt of his days as a young subaltern, strolling arm in arm

moment later, her foot begins to tap in time to the raucous music. Is this a signal to me? Am I to request the pleasure of the next dance? But a young Frenchman with long curly hair tickling the collar of his blouse saves me from attempting to cut these athletic capers. He stands mute before Lucy and offers his hand. “Go along, Lucy,” I say. “I doubt a dancing master could be found in London to cover this ground. And I assure you, it is beyond my poor powers.” And there she is, jigging with

my instructions as to the disposal of these articles as well as the balance of monies in my account. The import of this was clear. Nevertheless, half-crazed, I took the humiliating step of appealing to Aloysius Dooley for any information he had of Lucy, or the reasons behind her actions. The Irishman’s answer reached me on the 30th of May. For twenty years I have kept his letter. April 30, 1872 Dear Mr. Charles, Thanks for asking I’m pretty fare. I best get strait to it. Custis and Lucy got

EMBLEM EDITIONS McClelland & Stewart Ltd. 75 Sherbourne Street Toronto, Ontario M5A 2P9 v3.1 This book is dedicated to all those local historians who keep the particulars of our past alive. Contents Cover Other Books by This Author Title Page Copyright Dedication Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16

of disaster. Our guide’s absconding in the dead of night badly rattled Grunewald and Barker. Only his unexpected return late this morning squelched their uneasiness. I am sure if Potts had not reappeared, the teamsters would have insisted on our immediate return to Fort Benton. True to form, Addington seemed completely unaware of their demoralized and anxious state. When I tried to talk sense to my brother, make him see that to allow Ayto to persecute our scout was, at best, impolitic, he would

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