For lovers of adventure, pioneer tales, westerns and Cooper's own "leatherstocking" stories, this one's not bad. Not up to the pacing, depth or vision demonstrated by Cooper in "The Last of the Mohicans", this book nevertheless continues the adventures of the wilderness scout Natty Bumppo ("Hawkeye" in "Mohicans" and "Pathfinder" here). Still the prototype of that strong, silent and simple man of virtue (who finds a higher moral calling in the wilderness among his beloved Indians and far from the zones of civilization whom we met in "Mohicans"), Natty now seems somewhat older (though not much time appears to have elapsed) and longing, at last, for what he has always eschewed: a place and family of his own. Brought to a lakeside fort (Lake Ontario) at the urging of an old friend who is in charge of running the day to day soldiering at the fort and who desires to play matchmaker between his daughter and Pathfinder, Natty soon finds himself in the midst of intrigue and betrayal on the lake. It is still the time of the French and Indian Wars and the action involves naval activity on the lake and in the Thousand Islands. But Natty soon finds he has competition for the hand of his old friend's daughter in the person of a young naval officer who promptly falls under suspicion because of his French origins. In the end, Pathfinder must get to the bottom of the betrayal while making the noble choice with regard to the fair maiden and his rival for her hand. The action involves a swift "sea" chase over Ontario and a denoument among the Thousand Islands as Pathfinder and his faithful companion, Chingachgook, seek to protect the small military force in their charge from a French attack which is aided by unknown turncoats in their midst. It's a good story but less powerful, and a good deal more wooden, than "Mohicans". Natty, himself, seems a might too talkative for the strong silent type he is alleged to be (didn't seem as problematic in the earlier "Mohicans" as it does here), but there are some good moments including an opening scene where the great forested country is vividly depicted, a fine shooting match at the fort (reminiscent of Scott's knightly tourneys), an exciting chase across the face of the lake and a fine wrap-up when Pathfinder struggles to save the outgunned outpost in his charge. Still this one read better when I was much younger than it does today. -- Stuart W. Mirsky (email@example.comThe King of Vinland's Saga
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Stuart W. Mirsky (swmirsky)
I'm a retired bureaucrat (having served, most recently, as an Assistant Commissioner in amunicipal agency in a major Northeastern American city). In 2002 I took an early retirement to pursue a lifelong … more
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"Excellent edition for class use, what with both of Cooper's prefaces and the series in general. AND an essay to provide historical context, a chronology, a bibliography--and still more. This should be the edition of choice for the classroom."--Cameron C. Nnickels,James Madison University "Clearly and carefully edited, this volume is a very useful addition to your excellent series."--E.N. Feltskog,University of Wisconsin --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.