Book Recommendation: Follow The River by James Alexander Thom

Follow The RiverThis novel, (my second favorite novel after Illusions by Richard Bach) is based on the true ordeal of Mary Ingles, who was captured by Native American Indians in Virginia during a raid in 1755.  I recommend it for two main reasons… the writing is fabulous and the story is an inspiring tale of a woman’s indomitable strength (one of my favorite themes!).

First let me say that I greatly admire Thom’s writing style.  It is colorful and beautifully descriptive.  He cleverly pulls you along as he develops the plot and the characters, keeping you riveted like a good storyteller should.

Thom has authored many other historical novels, most notably From Sea to Shining Sea (about the Lewis & Clark expedition, as well as the exploits of the Clark family) and Panther in the Sky (about Tecumseh, the famous leader of the Shawnee nation), which was also made into a movie.  Follow The River was made into a movie as well, but it’s not nearly as good as the book.  Thom is known for his meticulously research and use of primary sources.  He even walks in the footsteps of the characters.  For example, he traveled the entire route of the Lewis and Clark expedition while writing From Sea to Shining Sea.

When Mary Ingles was taken, she was 23, happily married and pregnant with her third child.  The tale of how she escaped after months of captivity and what she endured to follow the Ohio River through 1000 miles of wilderness in her effort to get back home is amazing and inspiring.


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