Tame the Wild Land

Patrick Shannon
Outskirts Press, Inc. (2014)
ISBN 9781478737636
Reviewed by Ben Green for Reader Views (03/15)

“Tame the Wild Land” by Patrick Shannon is an excellent historical fiction novel about real events in American, French and Spanish history. Mr. Shannon is a direct descendant of the book’s protagonist, Louis de St. Denis, and this seems to give him special insight into the character’s mind. What I like most is that it is clear a lot of research has gone into this book making it feel like you are in the 1700’s while you are reading.

The characters speak to one another in dialogue suited to their station and place in history. The descriptions of the scenes accurately portray the period. The author’s knowledge of the inner workings of the 1700’s era mercantile bases, economies, and cultural norms seem on point. The protagonist is an interesting mixes of lofty desire, talents and flaws. He is an explorer and adventurer in a new world that is filled with both danger and opportunity, and he finds his fair share of both. Many of the scenes in the book seem to be taken from historical accounts. It is interesting to watch the thought processes of St. Denis as he interacts with the natives, deals with trade, and begins to move from a loyal Frenchman to something altogether new. There is not a boring moment from the first to last chapter. The book starts off with St. Denis being faced with tired and angry settlers who have been left for a year without supplies in Louisiana, and end with St. Denis facing possible smuggling charges in Mexico.

"Tame the Wild Land” is hard to put down. It is a great read and whether you want a more personal take on the 1700’s American history or just a good story to read, I cannot recommend it enough. I would give “Tame the Wild Land” by Patrick Shannon five stars and would give it more if I could.