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Thirteen Moons by Charles Frazier
Thirteen Moons is based loosely on the life of William Holland Thomas, a white man adopted by a Cherokee tribe who helped protect their North Carolina land. At age 12, orphan Will Cooper is sent to Indian land to run a trading post as an indentured servant. He comes under the influence of two Cherokees who would become his surrogate fathers, Featherstone, a charismatic horse thief, and Bear, the chief of one of the tribes. He also becomes enchanted with the mysterious Indian woman, Claire. Will is eventually adopted by the Cherokee, studies law and becomes a successful owner of a series of trading posts. He uses his legal skills and connections to try to protect the Cherokee from the Trail of Tears, the forced relocation to the Oklahoma Territory. He risks losing the people he loves the most. Charles Frazier's second novel (following his bestselling Cold Mountain) has received mostly positive reviews with the San Jose Mercury News saying, "But like Frazier's debut book, it displays the same exceptional gift for immersing the reader in a bygone world, the same sly and luminous mastery of language, and the same recognition that both drunks and preachers are, at best, only human."