Charbonneau was born on the adventure of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, born to explore. When he was a boy, Charbonneau was also raised in William Clark’s posh society, educated in Europe, and the welcome guest of kings and brilliant people of the time. Charbonneau was a cultured man, at ease in the gentile civilization of European courts. And, he loved and knew wild places as few other men did. Which life would he eventually choose?
Yes, Charbonneau was a man of two dreams, but the Western wilderness pulled at his heart always. It was there he finally returned as a 19th century mountain man, trader and explorer. And, throughout his life, he and Clark maintained an extraordinary relationship.
Charbonneau is a moving novel based upon the fundamental conflict in the American West during the first half of the nineteenth century—the clash of values between the white man and the red man.
The half-blood Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau is a figure who embodies that clash. Now, in the great story telling tradition, Win Blevins creates a magnificent set of characters, imaginatively reconstructs events that are beyond historical recovery, and brings Charbonneau and the era in which he lived superbly to life.
This is the epic story of a proud adventurer who lived his dream and created his life in two worlds, that of an Indian man and a white man. From this rich material Win Blevins has spun a story of epic scope and lyrical eloquence.
“Beautiful. Blevins brings it all alive.” – The Los Angeles Times
“Ended as it should, but all too soon. A story of Sacagawea’s son, who all but disappeared from history, we find him again in this story of a person most appreciative of life and the world around him, both red and white. He absorbs culture and shares culture, he loves and respects his mother. You could imagine his songs and singing, and you definitely wondered what he would do next.” — Connie Strang – Lima, Montana
“This book is a fictional biography of Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. Very little is known of Jean Baptiste, but Blevins imaginatively builds his novel around the small historical record. His characterization is plausible and enjoyable to read. It contains many vignettes that relate to events in the Fur Trade Era so interest is maintained.
“It is remarkable that Blevins was able to capture many insights into what it is like to be a half-breed. My Mother was Pawnee and my Dad was of Scottish extraction. I can vouch for some of the more contemplative passages in the novel that express Jean Baptiste’s feelings regarding his special social status. For buckskinners, this is an important piece of literature that helps to fully express the society of the fur trade. For everyone else, it is just a good read.” — An Appreciative Reader
“Blevins brings to light the somewhat obscure life of Sacajawea’s son, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, and weaves it into an enjoyable and meaningful novel. Charbonneau was half Indian and half white, which explains his dilemma of being torn between two worlds.
“Taken into custody by William Clark, Charbonneau begins his early education in both Protestant and Catholic schools in St. Louis, goes to Europe with Prince Paul of Wurttemberg for six years to continue his education and culture, comes back to St. Louis and then enters the fur trade.
“As the years go by, we see how he attempts to balance himself between the Indian and white man’s world. Blevins’ writing is very descriptive in detail, particulars, and trivia of the present moment. It is as though he himself was there and lived it. I do not normally read fiction based on fact, but this is an exception to the rule.” — William J Higgins III