From deprivation in the wilderness to the lavish courts of European nobility, this poignant historical novel explores the life and quest of Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea. After the famed Lewis and Clark expedition and the death of his mother, Jean-Baptiste was brought up as Clark's foster son. He was eventually paraded throughout Europe as a curiosity from the wilds of America, labeled as a half-gentleman and half-animal, entertaining nobility as a concert pianist. Later, Jean-Baptiste returns to North America with a burning desire to create his own place in the New World. In doing so, he returns to the heart of the American wilderness on an epic quest for ultimate identity that brings sacrifice, loss, and the distant promise of redemption.
Colin Sargent is a playwright and the author of three books of poetry. He is also the founder and publisher of Portland Magazine. He lives in Portland, Maine.
Sargent's debut novel is a stylish look at the fate of Sacagawea's baby son, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau. . . . Increasingly haunted by his mother, Baptiste revisits her in memories and visions that lend themselves nicely to Sargent's lyrical prose . . . an impressively rounded portrait of Baptiste, this novel will satisfy fans of American history.
From the beginning to the novel's spellbinding conclusion, playwright and poet Sargent allows us an intimate glimpse into what could have been the heart of Jean-Baptiste. This memorable novel will captivate all who read it. Highly recommended.
One of the most satisfying works of fiction that I have read in years. . . . Sargent sends the youthful Baptiste on a multi-leveled grand tour of discovery that never lets up or disappoints.
Strongly reflecting the author's ability as a playwright and poet, [this book] is rich with unusual historical detail. . . . It is a fascinating and ultimately tragic tale of a usually forgotten player in this country's story.