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Publisher's Summary

In 1903 a mysterious, desperate young woman flees alone across the west, one quick step ahead of the law. She has just become a widow by her own hand.

Two vengeful brothers and a pack of bloodhounds track her across the western wilderness. She is 19 years old and half mad. Gil Adamson's extraordinary novel opens in heart-pounding midflight and propels the listener through a gripping road trip with a twist - the steely outlaw in this story is a grief-struck young woman. Along the way she encounters characters of all stripes - unsavoury, wheedling, greedy, lascivious, self-reliant and occasionally generous and trustworthy. Part historical novel, part Gothic tale and part literary Western, The Outlander is an original and unforgettable listen.

©2008 Gil Adamson (P)2019 Anansi Audio

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Love this story

I read this a couple of years ago as a book but recently.”reread” as an audio book while recovering from a hospital stay. Wonderful story, beautifully written, engaging characters and plot, Canadian history’s it’s best.

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A blueprint for society and a splendid read

"The widow" develops as a character in such a powerful way as to give us a blueprint for a better world. At the beginning, she is a downtrodden, abused woman who has stumbled from one dysfunctional home to another, living with grief and sorrow and unable to look after herself. The decision she makes to become "a widow by her own hand" launches her on a journey in which she learns competence and a sense of her own ingenuity and in the end, love and confidence. The 'ridge-runner' is a foil for the widow, a man of tenderness and strength, who nevertheless finds it unable to cope with the intensity of their love. The note she leaves for him in the end is a testament that she not only knows herself then, but also the ridge-runner. And we can imagine him tracking her through the foothills, sometimes catching up with her and sometimes, not.

This is a splendid read with a real sense of the place and with such fascinating characters that you feel at the end that it has been worth it getting to know them.

A caveat on the historical setting in Frank: The author has indicated that she has created her own world despite using actual events. This is quite true in the case of Frank. The town was demolished when Turtle Mountain collapsed onto it in 1903 and miners did survive by climbing out through an air vent even though the main entrance was covered in rock. But Frank was not an all-male enclave as suggested in the novel. There were families and other women living in the town at the time. In fact, one small child was found alone in the rubble, perhaps saved in the way the widow is in the book. The other thing that seems missing is the heat of the rocks. Accounts of the time suggest that climbing over the rocks just after the slide would have resulted in severe burns, not just cuts. But perhaps I am picky, having done some research of my own on the event. Despite the anomalies, I loved her creation of the place, the details and the lives of the men who worked there.