By Sorrow's River
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date: October 2006
Duration: 12 hours 0 minutes
By Sorrow's River continues the Berrybender party's trail across the endless Great Plains of the West towards Santa Fe, where they intend to spend the winter. Along the way, Tasmin, whose husband Jim Snow, has gone off to scout ahead of them, falls in love with Pomp Charbonneau, only to see him killed by the ruthless commander of Spanish troops, while her father, Lord Berrybender, now reduced to limping along on one leg and a pair of crustches, increasingly makes a fool of himself by falling in love with his own mistress. They meet up with a vast cast of characters from the history of the West--Kit Carson, the famous scout; Le Partezon, the fearsome Sioux war chief; The Ear Taker, an Indian whose specialty is creeping up on people while they are asleep and slicing their ear off with a sharp knife; two aristocratic Frenchmen whose eccentric aim is to cross the Great Plains by hot air balloon; a party of slavers led by the cowardly but bloodthirsty Obregon; a band of raiding Pawnee; and many other astonishing characters who prove, once again that the rolling, grassy plains are not, in fact, nearly as empty of life as they look, but that most of what is there is dangerous and hostile, even when faced with a young woman of Tasmin's remarkable, frosty sang froid, perhaps the strongest and most interesting of Larry McMurtry's women characters, and fairly resistant to shock, whether at bloodshed, the behavior of children, or sex.
A tale of adventure, at once high-spirited and terrifying, a journey as awe-inspiring and difficult as that of young Gus and Call in Dead Man's Walk, a story of love, passion, and death set against the background of the West that nobody writes about like Larry McMurtry, By Sorrow's River is an epic in its own right, with an extraordinary young woman (and mother) as its leading figure.