“The revenant, he knew, searched for him.”
I was strolling through Waterstone’s when the cover of The Revenant, by Michael Punke, caught my eye; the simple blue cover with a hint of pink is very effective, and I picked it up and had a read of the blurb.
This is the book that inspired the film that the great Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar for. I haven’t yet seen the film, but having now read this book I would definitely like to. While out with the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, Hugh Glass is attacked by a bear and left with injuries that would surely kill him. However, he miraculously survives; though only after two men abandon him and steal his precious gun, his flint, and his slim chance of survival. The novel follows his incredible recovery, and his journey across the West in search of the two men, so that he can have his revenge.
This book was really enjoyable. I loved the history within it, and recognised some of it from studying the American West a few years ago. One can learn a lot about the true struggle for survival on the Plains in this book, and the imminent threat of the Indians.
I like how the book is not continuously in the present; flashbacks to backgrounds of some of the characters help to better understand them, especially Glass and his motives. I also like how it doesn’t simply follow Glass, but also various other characters, so that the reader can have a better understanding of what is going on during the months that the book takes place.
The description in the book is incredible. One particular scene actually made me feel sick due to a particularly nasty surprise (which I won’t spoil for you), which shows the talent of the writing. The way that the surroundings and the actual story are described is very good. Punke has a way with words that can inspire great tension within the story; several times I felt genuine fear for Glass, temporarily forgetting that I was reading a story.
Although, finding out that this is based on a real person was highly interesting. I felt inspired to look up some of the history of what happened to Glass and some of the characters.
I do, however, feel that the ending was a little anti-climatic. After waiting the entire novel for the circumstances to be so, it didn’t turn out the way I expected, and I was left a little bit disappointed.
If you have an interest in the American West, or enjoy particularly tense survival stories, then this book is definitely for you.