Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
I love books with great openings, because the opening is always a promise. But what happens after that determines the storytelling skills of the author. Lyrical and engaging, Fort Sarpy, the second book in the Riverboat series by Dave Lloyd has a gripping opening with powerful images flowing through the unique diction and the highly descriptive prose. The reader is immediately introduced to the image of the river and the reminiscences of one of the key characters: “This river was like an obstinate mule that Caleb remembered from his days on the farm, one that would sit down in its traces and refuse, absolutely, to continue with the day's work.”
This historical novel tells the story around the American Fur Company’s most dangerous post, a fort constructed along the Yellowstone River in 1850, intended to provide trade to the Crow tribe. The reader is introduced to Robert Meldrum, one of the pioneer white men to settle in the wilderness with the Crows. The adventures and clash of cultures, the austerity of life, and the cultural implications of the move are so masterfully explored in this historical novel.
It is spellbinding and laced with wonderful historical elements. The social and political commentaries are awesome and the reader has the feeling of being thrust, head first, into a historical era with warring Indians and people cut off from the world, surviving the wilderness in many creative ways. Fort Sarpy is deftly plotted, expertly written, and balanced. I enjoyed Dave Lloyd’s unique writing, the captivating phraseology, and his singular signature for both plot and character. An enticing read, indeed!