A Novel of Revenge

Book - 2015 | First Picador edition.
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In this story of survival, Hugh Glass is an expert trapper and frontiersman. After being viciously mauled by a massive grizzly bear and abandoned and left for dead by his fellow trappers, Hugh is pushed to survive by one thing revenge.
Publisher: New York :, Picador,, 2015.
Edition: First Picador edition.
Branch Call Number: HISTORICAL
Characteristics: 262 pages :,map ;,22 cm.
Notes: Map on endpapers.
Includes bibliographical references (pages [261]-262)


From Library Staff

A fictionalised account of the revenge-fueled journey of Hugh Glass. Working as a guide in the wilds of the North American fur trade, he's mauled by a bear and left for dead by a pair of men with only money on their minds. Remarkably he survives, and as he regains his health he begins tracking th... Read More »

A fictionalised account of the revenge journey of Hugh Glass. Working as a guide in the wilds of the North American fur trade he's mauled by a bear and left for dead by a pair of men with only money on their minds. Remarkably he survives, with some help from some dispossessed Native Americans, an... Read More »

A survivalist story set in the American wilderness during the fur trade in the early stages of the 19th century. A tracker is left for dead after a grizzly bear attack. He struggles to survive, regain his mind, but driving him is his desire for vengeance on those that left him for dead in the wil... Read More »

A survivalist story set in the American wilderness during the fur trade in the early stages of the 19th century. A tracker is left for dead after a grizzly bear attack. He struggles to survive and regain his mind but driving him on is his desire for vengeance against those that left him for dead ... Read More »

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Jan 08, 2021

"The Revenant" by Michael Punke is a wonderful fictionalization of the life of legendary sailor, pirate, frontiersman, hunter, scout, and trapper Hugh Glass (1783-1833). The author Punke is an attorney and diplomat by trade, raised in the wilds of Wyoming where most of the story takes place, Punke draws heavily on the landscape he explored as a child as well as the legends and stories he heard growing up to create the partially fictional Glass we meat in the "The Revenant." The term "revenant" accurately describes the book's plot, a revenant in ancient Saxon folklore was the spirit of a dead man returned to seek revenge on the living who wronged them. The story follows Glass's drive for revenge on fellow Rocky Mountain Fur Company men, Jim Bridger (who would become famous in his own right) and John Fitzgerald, who abandoned him after he was attacked by a grizzly bear. The story of Glass's battle with the grizzly was legendary even in Glass's own time, making him a towering figure among the frontiersmen. As the narrative progresses we watch as Glass's reputation grows with it. The story is a dizzyingly passed survival western and vendetta tale all in one. I was also appreciative of Punke's attention to the various cultural groups inhabiting the frontier at the time, the trappers were from diverse origins, such as Fitzgerald's old New Orleans, or the Arcadian heritage of Kiowa Brazeau and his Voyageurs. Punke also pays close attention to the portrayal of the Native American Tribes that lived in the area, from the Blackfeet, to the Crow, and Shoshone. I was astounded by Punke's deep appreciation of historic fact and how he blended it with artistic license to create a believable and engrossing story. I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the settlement of the west.

JCLCharlesH Apr 02, 2020

A wonderful survival western with wonderfully descriptive language. I was going to knock it down a few stars for a less satisfying ending, but upon learning that it is based on a true account of the historic figure Hugh Glass, I was able to get past the necessity of ending in the way it did. Highly recommended.

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 20, 2018

After being attacked by a grizzly, Hugh Glass is not only abandoned by his partners, they rob him first. Hugh survives by thinking of … revenge.

Dec 11, 2017

This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. Some fascinating things. Fans of historic fiction and survival should like it a lot. More than that, it was just a great general adventure book. Highly recommended.

Sep 27, 2017

Story of survival in the the early nineteenth century of America. The novel does not do a very good job of character development and the narrative pace is a bit slow for an epic adventure. Though the book touches on some big themes such as Justice vs Law, Revenge and Forgiveness it really does not explore them very well in the story. The book appears very detailed in it's portrayal of the frontier life and is worth reading just for that if you are interested in the subject. A quick read that would have been much better as a longer exploration of the themes touched on in the story and if it included motivations of the Indians portrayed in the novel.

Andrew Kyle Bacon
Jun 25, 2017

Absolutely great novel. It's a harrowing tale of a man's ability to push himself beyond the natural limitations of mankind. The book delves into historical details a tad bit too much for my taste, the author is a history professor, but when it stays focused on its main narrative it does so with incredible precision and pointedness. The central story of Hugh Glass is mesmerizing and his determination and anger pour off of the page. This is Punke's first, and only to my knowledge, work of fiction, but it is poignant and lucid in its storytelling. This novel is highly recommended to those who are interested in the history of the American frontier, western stories in general, and man's ability to push himself. The best part of this novel is looking into the true history behind its story. The final portion of the book is a note on the historicity of the novel and is very interesting. I loved this book even if it did need some trimming and editing here or there.

Apr 22, 2017

One wonders how Glass stayed alive.

Feb 21, 2017

Revenant: a person who has returned especially, supposedly, from the dead (Oxford Dictionary)

Hugh Glass, does not die, but comes close, when he is brutally mauled by a mother grizzly on a bank of the Grand River in 1823. A fur trapper with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, his wit and skills and some strong Sioux medicine enable him to survive the fall and winter. Glass is abandoned by two company men, Fitzgerald and Bridger, charged with making sure he's given a proper burial. The thing is: they don't just leave him to die, they take the only things that might enable him to live: his rifle, his knife, his flint and steel. But live he does; if only to pursue them and get his stuff back.

Written with plenty of detail and historical authority, Michael Punke leads us through the plains and river valleys east of the Rocky Mountains: the land of the Sioux, Arikara, and Mandan people. The Sioux and the trappers have been allies in a war with the Arikara, and it is an old Sioux medicine man who really saves Glass's life by killing the maggots that have burrowed inside his festering back wounds.

This is a historical novel that reads like non-fiction. The author, Michael Punke, explains in his Historical Notes that the main events are true to history. I haven't read an omniscient viewpoint for a long time--agents and editors stress that scenes by narrated by one character in limited omniscient--so I notice when we pass through several minds within a chapter. It's not distracting; just different. The writing is almost objective--written like a journal article. We never go deep inside this man, who suffers agonizing wounds to body, mind, and spirit. And I ask myself: what is Glass thinking besides how to find his next meal?

Michael Punke is a D.C. lawyer and deputy U.S. trade representative and ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Switzerland. He wrote this novel in his spare time, ten years before it was adapted for film. I read the novel first.

The award-winning film is "based in part on the novel" and a small part it is. The main characters, Hugh Glass (Leonardo Dicaprio), Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy), Jim Bridger, and Captain Henry are here, as is the main theme of revenge. But everything else is bolder, much more complex, and visceral. By adding other key characters and subplots, the screenwriters dramatize what falls fairly flat on the page. This is where we begin to understand what Glass is thinking as he rises from the dead to pursue Fitzgerald through spectacularly perilous country.

Besides incredible directing by Alejandro González Iñárritu and brilliant acting, what's memorable is the cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. Filmed near the Rocky Mountains in Alberta and Argentina, the film presents what we can only imagine frontier life might have been like in the 1820s. (To view stills and read more on the locations click here.) This is no romance, thought heart-wrenching spiritual moments lead us to the abyss more than once.

Aug 15, 2016

The writing is competent, and that's about it. The entire book feels like reading a newspaper article or a text book. Very boring. This shouldn't be surprising, since Punke is more of a journalist/historian by trade.

Given the source material, this could have been fun, but it's a disappointment. At least it was easy to read.

Jun 03, 2016

Stellar writing really captures the absolute fury in this man.

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Mar 09, 2016

black_cat_3047 thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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