“Beautiful. Blevins brings it all alive.” – The Los Angeles Times
This is the enthralling story of an authentic adventurer, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. He lived his dream in clashing cultures—that of Native American vitality and that of high European society. He mastered both worlds, but was ultimately forced to choose between them. The son of Sacajawea, guide for Lewis and Clark, Charbonneau was born on the adventure, and born to explore.
As an infant, he infant traveled from North Dakota to the Pacific Ocean and back, carried along in the expedition’s boats or upon his mother’s back. As a child, Sacajawea sent her son to William Clark. There Charbonneau was raised in Clark’s posh society, had Jesuit schooling in St. Louis, and was later educated in Europe—he became the welcome guest of kings.
Throughout his life, Charbonneau and Clark maintained an extraordinary relationship. Charbonneau became a cultured man, at ease in the gentile civilization of European courts. But he was a man of two dreams, and the Western wilderness pulled at his heart.
Charbonneau became an American explorer, guide, fur trapper-trader, military scout during the Mexican-American War, alcalde (mayor) of Mission San Luis Rey de Francia, and a gold prospector and hotel operator in Northern California. He spoke French and English, and learned German and Spanish during his six years in Europe. He also spoke Shoshone and other western Native American languages, which he learned first from his family and then during his years of trapping and guiding.
CHARBONNEAU is a novel of epic scope and lyric intensity, of vivid human drama and vigorous adventure!
“A gripping historical novel . . . Blevins weaves authentic and documented material with the fruits of an impressive empathy. The characters live not only as recognizable people in their times and places, but as figures is an allegory of the West. There is some beautiful writing here. Blevins beings it all alive!” – Los Angeles Times
“Blevins captures both Charbonneau’s unique character and the full flavor of the American era in which he lived. From frontier hardships and the raw vigor of Native American life to the sensual and intellectual pleasures of high European society, ‘Charbonneau’ is a must-read novel of American resilience and intellect.” The Denver Post