So Wild a Dream

SO WILD A DREAM is an award-winning novel. The first in Blevins' RENDEZVOUS SERIES, our main character meets Native Americans ontheir own terms and learns he is a survivor in the wilderness.Into the untamed West came the mountain men. They explored the wilderness, crossed the Rocky Mountains, learned the ways of Indian tribes, trekked to the Pacific, and became the stuff of legends.

In SO WILD A DREAM, first book of the Rendezvous series, we meet young Sam Morgan. Sam has a hungry spirit and is pulled by the lure of adventure.

“Blevins possesses a rare skill in masterfully telling a story-to-paper. He is a true storyteller in the tradition of Native people.”–Lee Francis, Professor of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico

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In 1822, life in Pennsylvania feels hemmed in, and Sam nurtures the dream of a truly free American life. Since the return of Captains Lewis and Clark, people are bubbling with stories about the far-off Shining Mountains. Sam gets a job on a riverboat, and the adventure begins.

Along the way he finds companions and adventures. For guidance, an educated Delaware Indian and Captain William Clark himself. For friends, a con man, a madam, and an assortment of shaggy people who have tasted the waters of those mountains.

Sam first learns the fur trade from Bible-toting Jedediah Smith and Irish Tom Fitzpatrick, both already becoming legends. He also learns from the Indians. At the Ree villages, he comes face-to-face with treachery and instant death. Among the Crows, he learns the love of a woman. From the Bois Brules, Snakes, Pawnees, and other tribes, he learns native crafts, lore, and mysticism.

Sam’s best teacher is hard-won experience. He makes a grueling seven-hundred-mile trek, alone and on foot, across the Great Plains to Fort Atkinson on the Missouri River. On route, he survives the holocaust of a prairie fire and learns the price of survival in the pitiless Western wilds. Sam also learns something of who he is and of who he wants to become.

SO WILD A DREAM was chosen by ‘Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers’ as novel of the year. It also won the Spur award for best novel of the West.

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Author Reviews

“Not since Frederick Manfred’s ‘Lord Grizzly’ and Vardis Fisher’s ‘Mountain Man’ has there been so gripping, authentic, and captivating a story of the men who matched the mountains of the Great American West. Win Blevins has long since won his place among the West’s very best.”–Tony Hillerman

“No one since the great A. B. Guthrie, Jr, has a better feel for the world of the mountain man.”—Don Coldsmith

Blevins’s sweeping vision of the American frontier is just plain irresistible.” —W. Michael Gear and Kathleen O’Neal Gear, authors of People of the Owl.

“No one writes about the fur trappers’ westering experience better than Win Blevins. He has a poet’s way with words, and imagery to match the wilderness reality. In So Wild A Dream Win has re-created that long-ago world where the improbable was commonplace, and where courage and audacity made anything possible.”—Lucia St. Clair Robson, author of Ghost Warrior

So Wild a Dream reads like spare prose poetry, limning vulnerable, yet heroic human characters against the untrammeled frontier of the early nineteenth century. Today’s reader will never come closer to seeing what they saw and seeing what they felt.” —Loren D. Estleman, author of Black Powder, White Smoke

“Blevins possesses a rare skill in masterfully telling a story-to-paper. He is a true storyteller in the tradition of Native people.”– Lee Francis, Associate Professor of Native American Studies, University of New Mexico

Professional Reviews

“The first volume of Win Blevins’s Rendezvous Series, So Wild A Dream is a fabulous beginning of what promises to become a classic series that will be on college reading lists in history classes studying the fur trading era. Besides it’s educational value, So Wild A Dream is fun to read. If you can only afford one book this year, buy this one. It’s a keeper.” –Roundup Magazine

“Life in rural Pennsylvania in the 1820s doesn’t hold much appeal for young, adventurous, ambitious Sam Morgan. He decides to make his life–and maybe his fortune–on the frontier, but his first step is to get there. He secures a job as a hand on a riverboat, and the adventure begins.

“His crewmates are an assortment of rascals, rapscallions, and borderline crooks, among them an educated Delaware Indian, a scam artist, a wily riverboat captain, and a former prostitute who may be more dangerous than any of her companions. In their travels up and down the rivers, the crew experiences a multitude of adventures, including a bloody confrontation with two brothers who had been bounced from the crew. Sam provides muscle on the boat, and his marksmanship keeps the crew supplied with fresh game when they anchor at nightfall.

“Author Blevins, an expert on early American fur trade, introduces his Rendezvous series with this entertaining, vivid portrait of frontier America as seen through the eyes of an impressionable youth.” — Wes Lukowsky, BookList

“As usual, Win Blevins has combined his vast knowledge of the history of the American west with his uncanny talent for telling a great story. Historically, So Wild a Dream, the first book in the Rendezvous series, takes the reader on a journey with the first white men to venture west. The vehicle for this history lesson is the coming of age story of young Sam Morgan, who longs for adventure and to escape the tumultuous feelings of a failed first love.” — PW

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Reader Reviews

A story of amazing courage, endurance, and resourcefulness. The first volume in the Rendezvous Series, So Wild a Dream is a thoroughly enjoyable tale of struggle and survival in the wilderness of the Great American West in the early 19th century. The time is 1822. The protagonist is Sam Morgan, 18, who, bored with civilization and “following his wild hair,” leaves his home in Morgantown, twenty miles up the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, and sets out on an adventurous trek toward the Shining Mountains of his dreams.

“Sam travels on a flatboat down the Ohio to Cincinnati, Louisville, and Evansville, and up the Mississippi to St. Louis. He meets colorful characters (card sharks, con men, flimflam artists), visits shady places (taverns, booze dens, gambling halls, cathouses), and experiences barroom brawls and a mugging.

“I thought the mixture of the mixture of well-known characters with the fictional characters was outstanding. The story moved along rapidly and the excitement was outstanding. Looking forward to the rest of the series.” – John T. Hicks, Greeneville, TN

Great edge-of-your-seat story! … After the first few pages, an incredible story, so well-told with great imagery, unfolded, and I could hardly put it down. I found myself telling friends about it as if it were a movie. I cannot wait for the author’s next book!” Maggie Gordon, Philly, USA

Good historical fiction epic. So Wild a Dream starts off a little slow, but quickly picks up pace to become an exciting portrayal of the life of Sam Morgan, a naive teenager with an unquenchable thirst for adventure who, in the course of the book, becomes a veritable “mountain man.” I enjoyed all the historical details and the fact that many of the characters and events are real.”– Marisa, Beaverton, OR, USA

An adventure of the body and the spirit. A young man, Sam, follows the call to adventure given him by a Delaware Indian sitting by a mighty river. During his journey, Sam learns love, fighting, the ways of Indians and the songs of mountains and rivers. But more than this, Sam learns his own heart, his strengths, his hopes and his fears. SO WILD A DREAM is a real page-turner packed with adventure. It’s also a beautiful and poetic story of a spiritual adventure learned through trials and triumphs. Win Blevins once again creates a rich world with all the juicy stuff of living. A must read.” — A Happy Reader

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