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Across the Endless River

by Thad Carhart

Published by Doubleday

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From the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank comes a historical novel about Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea, and his intriguing sojourn as a young man in 1820s Europe.

Born in 1805 on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau was the son of the Voyage of Discovery's translators, Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. Across the Endless River evokes  the formative years of this mixed-blood child of the frontier, entering the wild and mysterious world of his boyhood along the Missouri. Baptiste is raised both as William Clark's ward in St. Louis and by his parents among the villages of the Mandan tribe on the far northern reaches of the river.

In 1823 eighteen-year-old Baptiste is invited to cross the Atlantic with the young Duke Paul of W├╝rttemberg, whom he meets on the frontier. During their travels throughout Europe, Paul introduces Baptiste to a world he never imagined. Increasingly, Baptiste confronts the limitations of life as an outsider; only Paul's older cousin, Princess Theresa, understands the richness of his heritage. Their affair is both passionate and tender, but Theresa's clear-eyed notions of love, marriage, and the need to fashion one's own future push Baptiste to consider what he truly needs. In Paris he meets Maura Hennesy, the beautiful and independent daughter of a French-Irish wine merchant. Baptiste describes his life on the fast-changing frontier to Maura, and she begins to imagine a different destiny with this enigmatic American. Baptiste ultimately faces a choice: whether to stay in Europe or to return to the wilds of North America. His decision will resonate strongly with those who today find themselves at the intersection of cultures, languages, and customs.


pub date: 2009-09-01 | hardcover | 9780385529778