Amazon.comIn his second novel, Lost Nation , Jeffrey Lent follows Blood, a mysterious rogue attempting to make a new life for himself in Indian Stream, an ungoverned territory in 19th-century northern New Hampshire. Intending to start a trading business, Blood brings with him rum, supplies, and Sally, a 16-year-old girl he won in a card game from the madam of a brothel. A rugged "man of contradictions," Blood is learned and occasionally kind, yet capable of considerable cruelty and violence. Rumorsquickly circulate in Indian Stream regarding his troubled past, and Blood is made a scapegoat when conflicts escalate in the area following his arrival. As Blood's history is gradually revealed, it becomes clear that his only chance at redemption is through confrontation.
Demonstrating his gift for narration, Lent has created a rich and entertaining novel from this somewhat familiar outline, filled with well-developed characters and stark, evocative descriptions. In its epic, unflinching style and omniscient voice, Lent's prose is reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy and Faulkner, to whom he is often compared. Wolves, scoundrels, and barbaric natives abound, and Lent never shies away from the gritty, realistic detail appropriate for the novel's harsh setting. Though light on profundities, Lost Nation should offer readers many engaging reasons to return. --Ross Doll Book DescriptionFrom the best-selling author Jeffrey Lent, Lost Nation is a tour de force novel. Impelled by sensuous prose and atmospheric storytelling, Lost Nation delves beneath the bright, promising veneer of early-nineteenth-century New England to unveil a startling parable of individualism and nationhood.
The novel opens with a man known as Blood, guiding an oxcart of rum toward the wild country of New Hampshire, an ungoverned territory called the Indian Streama land where the luckless or outlawed have made a fresh start. Blood is a man of contradictions, of learning and wisdom, but also a man with a secret past that has scorched his soul. He sets forth to establish himself as a trader, hauling with him Sally, a sixteen-year-old girl won from the madam of a brothel over a game of cards. Their arrival in the Indian Stream triggers an escalating series of clashes that serves to sever the master/servant bond between them, and offers both a second chance with life. But as the conflicts within the community spill over and attract the attention of outside authorities, Blood becomes a target to those seeking easy blame for their troubles. As plots unravel and violence escalates, two young men of uncertain identity appear, and Blood is forced to confront dreaded apparitions of his past, while Sally is offered a final escape.
Lost Nation is a vivid tale of unexpected strengths, terrible and sad misconceptions, and the yearning toward civil society in a landscape raw and with little pity for human strivings. In prose both lucid and seductive, it carries us deeply into human and natural conditions of extreme desolation and harrowing hardship, but also the relentless beat of hope and, finally, the redeeming capacity of love.