That Dark and Bloody River by Allan W. Eckert is a historical novel that tells the story of the American frontier in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The book is set in the Ohio River Valley, which was a hotbed of conflict between Native Americans and white settlers. I really believe most people living in that area have no idea how brutal and bloody that battle over both transit on the river and the settling of the lands on either side was.
Eckert’s novel is a sweeping epic that tells the stories of many different characters, including Native American leaders such as Tecumseh and Blue Jacket, white settlers such as Daniel Boone and Simon Kenton, and American military leaders such as George Rogers Clark and William Henry Harrison. The book is full of action, adventure, and even some romance, and it provides a fascinating glimpse into a time of great change and upheaval in American history.
At the time the book is set, the Ohio was the bleeding frontier of the nation and the major road west. As it went, so went the country. I refer to it a couple of times in the latest trilogy (Liz Danger) I’ve written with Jennifer Crusie which we set in the fictional town of Burney, on the banks of the Ohio River.
Eckert’s research for the novel is extensive, and he brings a wealth of detail to his characters and their world. The book is long, but it never feels slow or bogged down. Eckert’s writing is clear and engaging, and he does a masterful job of bringing the past to life.
That Dark and Bloody River is a must-read for anyone interested in American history or historical fiction. It is a powerful and moving story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.
I recommend all of Eckert’s frontier books.