The Revenant – Michael Punke

I’m just going to put it out there, the reason I decided to read this book was purely because it sounded like a great movie, but I’m a massive sook and when I heard there was an intense scene with a bear I decided that perhaps the book was the best route for me. The general synopsis of this book is that Hugh Glass, a tracker is mauled by a bear and is left slowly dying. Two men are charged with staying with him as he passes on to ensure he is given an adequate burial. After a hostile group of indians get a little too close the men panic and abandon Glass doing the unthinkable and stealing his beloved rifle and knife, leaving him defenceless and barely conscious. Somehow Glass survives and so begins his quest for revenge on the men who robbed him and left him for dead.

 

What really drew me to this story was how different it was to my usual read, not that I really have a usual genre. My goal this year has been to sample different books, from different genres that I may not necessarily read all the time. Safe to say this was my first book set in America in the early 1800’s full of trackers, wild animals, indians and wilderness. For such a different setting compared to any other book I have read this year I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself in a world where survival is paramount and you don’t know who is friend and who is foe. It takes guts and skill for survival.

 

Glass was a great character with a huge amount of resolve in his quest for justice. I enjoyed learning about his life and what brought him to that moment and shaped him into the man he was. Following him through his fight for survival was fascinating and his triumphs were my own as I read along. It was an amazing feat and what blew my mind was learning after I had finished the book that they story had a basis in history. Hugh Glass really was a tracker who was mauled by a bear and left for dead. Bridger and Fitzgerald were commonly believed to be the men who left him for dead. Even his interesting past life has some support from historians, although this cannot be confirmed. The author fictionalised it but left a highly plausible and fascinating story behind. The host of supporting characters that come and go through the story and interesting and entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions with the local indians. The issues between the two groups co-exisitng together were fascinating on their own.

 

The story was a fast-paced read and did not take me very long to finish. If you are in the mood for a story filled with adventure with a touch of revenge, then I definitely recommend the Revenant. The book has left me wanting what I tried to avoid in the first place: to see the movie. I mean, who doesn’t love a little Leo?? Might just have to brace myself for the gory parts. I give the Revenant three mother Grizzly bears, lesson learnt to not get between them and their cubs.

 

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