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The thrilling, long-awaited return of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant. In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier--a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming's Powder Ri The thrilling, long-awaited return of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant. In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier--a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming's Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota's most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. For the Lakota, the stakes are their home, their culture, their lives. As fall bleeds into winter, Crazy Horse leads a small war party that confronts Colonel Carrington's soldiers with near constant attacks. Red Cloud, meanwhile, seeks to build the tribal alliances that he knows will be necessary to defeat the soldiers. Colonel Carrington seeks to hold together a US Army beset with internal discord. Carrington's officers are skeptical of their commander's strategy, none more so than Lieutenant George Washington Grummond, who longs to fight a foe he dismisses as inferior in all ways. The rank-and-file soldiers, meanwhile, are still divided by the residue of civil war, and tempted to desertion by the nearby goldfields. Throughout this taut saga--based on real people and events--Michael Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.


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The thrilling, long-awaited return of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant. In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier--a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming's Powder Ri The thrilling, long-awaited return of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Revenant. In 1866, with the country barely recovered from the Civil War, new war breaks out on the western frontier--a clash of cultures between a young, ambitious nation and the Native tribes who have lived on the land for centuries. Colonel Henry Carrington arrives in Wyoming's Powder River Valley to lead the US Army in defending the opening of a new road for gold miners and settlers. Carrington intends to build a fort in the middle of critical hunting grounds, the home of the Lakota. Red Cloud, one of the Lakota's most respected chiefs, and Crazy Horse, a young but visionary warrior, understand full well the implications of this invasion. For the Lakota, the stakes are their home, their culture, their lives. As fall bleeds into winter, Crazy Horse leads a small war party that confronts Colonel Carrington's soldiers with near constant attacks. Red Cloud, meanwhile, seeks to build the tribal alliances that he knows will be necessary to defeat the soldiers. Colonel Carrington seeks to hold together a US Army beset with internal discord. Carrington's officers are skeptical of their commander's strategy, none more so than Lieutenant George Washington Grummond, who longs to fight a foe he dismisses as inferior in all ways. The rank-and-file soldiers, meanwhile, are still divided by the residue of civil war, and tempted to desertion by the nearby goldfields. Throughout this taut saga--based on real people and events--Michael Punke brings the same immersive, vivid storytelling and historical insight that made his breakthrough debut so memorable. As Ridgeline builds to its epic conclusion, it grapples with essential questions of conquest and justice that still echo today.

30 review for Ridgeline

  1. 5 out of 5

    Cheri

    ’The full story of what happened in that brief hour of bloody carnage at high noon under the wintry sky of December 21, 1866, will never be known.’ -- Dee Brown - The Fetterman Massacre: Fort Phil Kearny and the Battle of the Hundred Slain Ridgeline, Michael Punke’s second novel, is set to be published on Jun 1, 2021, just 9 days short of 19 years since his first novel, The Revenant was published. I have not read The Revenant, but I did see the movie which was not a movie one easily forgets. Ridg ’The full story of what happened in that brief hour of bloody carnage at high noon under the wintry sky of December 21, 1866, will never be known.’ -- Dee Brown - The Fetterman Massacre: Fort Phil Kearny and the Battle of the Hundred Slain Ridgeline, Michael Punke’s second novel, is set to be published on Jun 1, 2021, just 9 days short of 19 years since his first novel, The Revenant was published. I have not read The Revenant, but I did see the movie which was not a movie one easily forgets. Ridgeline is another incredibly memorable story, which shares a fictionalized account of the true story of those U.S. Army officers, some who had recently fought in the Civil War, sent to settle the West, establishing a US Army outpost in northeastern Wyoming - Fort Phil Kearny. As many were then travelling, hunting for gold in the hills of Montana, a fort was needed to offer protection and avert Native American attacks. Some of the military men brought their wives, and other women, laundresses, were also there. Initially, the lifestyle was on the rough side, living in makeshift tents, but as time passes some of the higher ranking married men will have officers’ quarters, while most are roughing it. Their supply of the supplies they’d been promised doesn’t live up to their expectations. Guns, ammunition are antiquated and insufficient in number for their need, and of the one hundred and eighty infantrymen, only around half spoke, let alone understood, anything bearing a resemblance to English. This alternates between the stories of those living inside the fort, and those of the indigenous people living on the surrounding land, which includes the renowned Crazy Horse, who has seen the women along with the children, making him realize that they intend to settle the area, the idea of them doing so leaves him deeply disturbed. Crazy Horse is aware of the military’s belief that they aren’t capable of planning any kind of strategy, which he believes will play out in their favour. The battle that inevitably ensues ends up being an epic one. A battle fought with an almost blind arrogance on one side, and brilliant strategy on the other. Published: 01 Jun 2021 Many thanks for the ARC provided by Henry Holt and Company / Henry Holt & Co.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Fort Kearney, located in Wyoming, was constructed to discourage Native American attacks for gold prospectors on their way to and from Montana. Crazy Horse, acutely aware of the encroachment on the Native hunting grounds and loss of land, becomes the center of the ingenious and savage slaughter of military troops. The characters of the Native Americans, military troops, their families and scouts are strikingly authentic. The battle, itself, is nothing less than cinematic. I’m not typically a read Fort Kearney, located in Wyoming, was constructed to discourage Native American attacks for gold prospectors on their way to and from Montana. Crazy Horse, acutely aware of the encroachment on the Native hunting grounds and loss of land, becomes the center of the ingenious and savage slaughter of military troops. The characters of the Native Americans, military troops, their families and scouts are strikingly authentic. The battle, itself, is nothing less than cinematic. I’m not typically a reader of western historical fiction so I am pleased and heartened that this is a spectacular novel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    Having really enjoyed Punke’s previous work, The Revenant, I didn’t hesitate when offered a chance to read this new book, Ridgeline. I’ve long had a fascination with the old West, my favorite movie it Tombstone. I’m glad I read this book, as it was just what I needed for a change of pace. Wonderfully written and it kept me involved the entire book with the descriptive writing and action. I was provided a complimentary copy by the author and publisher.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Crytzer Fry

    This is why I love historical fiction – books like this. Everyone has heard of Crazy Horse (and I’d even been introduced to this real-life hero through Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee years ago in an undergrad lit class). And yet, I knew (or recalled) so little of this historic figure’s bravery. Through fully formed, flawed characters, this fictional account stays true to historic fact, using spare but impactful writing to deliver a history lesson about the impending extirpation of Native Indians i This is why I love historical fiction – books like this. Everyone has heard of Crazy Horse (and I’d even been introduced to this real-life hero through Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee years ago in an undergrad lit class). And yet, I knew (or recalled) so little of this historic figure’s bravery. Through fully formed, flawed characters, this fictional account stays true to historic fact, using spare but impactful writing to deliver a history lesson about the impending extirpation of Native Indians in a burgeoning America during the late 1800s. Heartbreaking in so many ways… Punke inhabits the viewpoints of various US soldiers, their wives, and two scouts, showcasing their flaws alongside glimpses of their humanity. One soldier is truly the “villain” – as unsavory a human as you might encounter. At the same time, the author shares the anger and heartbreak of various Lakota leaders as white invaders encroach upon their land and decimate their food sources/threaten their way of life. This multi-point-of-view technique was so effective, allowing the reader to understand the “savage” ways of the Indians, the loyalty of soldiers to their commanders. So much empathy and understanding is penned in these pages. I appreciated the insights of many of the characters, including the earthly Bridger, one of the scouts: Looming peaks would always provide a welcome dash of the unknown, but more and more the mountains comforted Bridger for their timeless constancy, their steady presence, an anchor against the decades. They made him feel small, reminded him he was small, reminded some others who needed the reminding. He liked the idea that the mountains would carry on, long after the petty snarling of the day to day. The epistolary journal entries of Frances Grummond were also interesting. I can’t wait to watch this as a movie; if I recall correctly from a Zoom author event, I believe that rights were gobbled up immediately, and the same director of Punke’s The Revenant will direct.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sandra The Old Woman in a Van

    Ridgeline, by Michael Punke, stands out first by having the best title ever. If you've ever explored NE Wyoming, then you know what I mean. It's all about the ridgelines, and what beyond they hide. Punke's account of Fetterman's Fight is historical fiction at its best. The pacing is perfect, evoking an era when everything took longer than today. It also portrays a brilliant strategic plan, executed with perfection by Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and the other Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors wh Ridgeline, by Michael Punke, stands out first by having the best title ever. If you've ever explored NE Wyoming, then you know what I mean. It's all about the ridgelines, and what beyond they hide. Punke's account of Fetterman's Fight is historical fiction at its best. The pacing is perfect, evoking an era when everything took longer than today. It also portrays a brilliant strategic plan, executed with perfection by Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, and the other Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho warriors when blindsided the US cavalry and infantry and ultimately won back the Powder River Valley (for a few years anyway). It's risky for an author to fictionalize a critical historical event where there is not much detail known and historical documents present conflicting views. But Ridgeline works. First, the author wrote an extensive afterward to delineate the fictional liberties taken and where conflicting accounts appear in the historical record. Including this explanation takes historical fiction up a notch for me. Most of all, though, the story is riveting. If you enjoy US Historical fiction and Western fiction in particular, this novel will take you right to the Powder River Basin. I love Punke's attention to details - small details many authors would leave out but, when included, help transport the reader to the time and place of the events. And it never felt like a lecture. Ridgeline comes out in June, so I recommend grabbing a copy for your summer reading now. I'm on a multi-month road trip, and one of the highlights will be exploring the sites and National Monuments described in the novel. Maybe I'll see you there! Thank you to NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sam Sattler

    Three summers ago, a friend with longtime family ties to Wyoming suggested that we visit Fort Phil Kearney while I was wandering around that part of the country. About the only thing that sounded remotely familiar to me at the time was the name of the Civil War general for whom the fort was named. I knew nothing about the history of the fort itself or what had happened there. Fort Phil Kearney is in such a remote location even today that it is easy to envision how scary it must have been there w Three summers ago, a friend with longtime family ties to Wyoming suggested that we visit Fort Phil Kearney while I was wandering around that part of the country. About the only thing that sounded remotely familiar to me at the time was the name of the Civil War general for whom the fort was named. I knew nothing about the history of the fort itself or what had happened there. Fort Phil Kearney is in such a remote location even today that it is easy to envision how scary it must have been there when the fort was constructed by military personnel in 1866, but it was only after hearing the fort’s history from an excellent Wyoming State Parks ranger that I wondered why it was still such a well-kept secret. Why were there no movies or novels about Fort Phil Kearney and the “Fetterman Fight” that happened there on December 21, 1866? After all, the Fetterman Fight, right up until the massacre of troops at the Battle of the Little Bighorn almost ten years later, was the worst defeat the US army ever suffered in battle against united tribes of American Indians. Well, finally, someone has written a novel about Fort Phil Kearney, and as it turns out, it was well worth the wait because Michael Punke’s Ridgeline brings it all to life for today’s readers. Punke is, of course, best known for his novel The Revenant and the successful film version that followed some years later, and this seems like a natural for the Wyoming native who as a teenager was himself a National Park Service employee at the state’s Fort Laramie National Historic Site. No one can know exactly what happened on that bloody day — or why it happened the way that it did — but Punke’s combination of historical fact and logical speculation is certainly plausible. The basic facts are these: Several Indian tribes, some of them longtime enemies, worked together to bring approximately 2,000 warriors to the battlefield. Tribal chiefs, with the help of a young warrior called Crazy Horse, concocted a precisely coordinated plan to lure soldiers from the fort into an ambush from which they could not possibly escape. Despite being directly ordered not to cross the ridge that placed them out of sight from fort observers, a combination of 81 calvary and infantry soldiers did exactly that. Within an hour (some say thirty minutes) of having crossed that point, all 81 soldiers were dead. The Indians knew they were fighting for their very survival as a people. A lesser threat would not have allowed longtime mortal enemies, as some of the tribes were, to put aside their differences even long enough to defeat a common foe. The soldiers were there because of the country’s inevitable western expansion and its hunger for gold. The troops were a mixture of Confederate and Union veterans, and not all of them were even soldiers by choice. The story Punke tells, because he tells it in alternating sections from the points of view of both sides, has a little of the feel of watching two runaway trains approach an unavoidable head-on collision. It has a tragic feel about it, especially because all of the key characters in Ridgeline are based upon historical figures and what historians know about them. Among the Indians, there are: Crazy Horse, his friend Lone Bear, his brother Little Hawk, and chiefs Red Cloud and High Backbone. Soldiers include: the fort’s commander Colonel Henry Carrington, Captains William Fetterman and Tenador Ten Eyck, and Lieutenant George Washington Grummond (the wild card in this story). In addition to the troops, a few families, including children, were also inside Fort Phil Kearney, and Punke uses two of the wives, Frances Grummond and Margaret Carrington, to illustrate some of the personality conflicts and jealousies that existed in the officer ranks. Scouts Jim Bridger (who played a key role in Punke’s The Revenant) and James Beckwourth also add to the mix. Bottom Line: Ridgeline is the kind of historical fiction that reminds readers that those who came before us were not all that different from the people we are today. Punke does not take sides. Instead, he gives the reader a sense of how — and why — something as tragic as what ultimately happened to this country’s native peoples happened. This is a memorable account of one little known fight between two very different cultures that had a much greater impact on American history than anyone could have realized at the time. (Review Copy provided by Publisher)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lou

    Ridgeline is an engrossing fictional narrative of one of the lesser-known battles in American history - the Battle of Little Big Horn in which Punke’s pitch-perfect depiction of the time and place bring the Old West to life. In December 1866, tensions were rising in Wyoming, between the Native American tribes who had lived on the land for generations and the settlers who would destroy their home. Crazy Horse and his fellow Lakota hunters had been watching for months as Colonel Carrington and his Ridgeline is an engrossing fictional narrative of one of the lesser-known battles in American history - the Battle of Little Big Horn in which Punke’s pitch-perfect depiction of the time and place bring the Old West to life. In December 1866, tensions were rising in Wyoming, between the Native American tribes who had lived on the land for generations and the settlers who would destroy their home. Crazy Horse and his fellow Lakota hunters had been watching for months as Colonel Carrington and his army set up camp on one of the most crucial swaths of hunting ground in hundreds of miles, and began to build forts. More disconcertingly, the settlers had brought women and children, which meant they planned to stay. As the Lakota and neighbouring tribes set forth with repeated attacks to discourage the settlers, Captain William J. Fetterman, anxious and arrogant, claimed that he could take offence and rid the area of Native American people with only a small army of 80 men. And he would--unless Crazy Horse could find a way to lure the army to their doom. This is a compelling, evocative and richly atmospheric story in which the battle is vividly depicted in delightful detail with a steadily rising tension becoming increasingly more palpable with each turn of the page. Punke’s characterisation is incredible as he paints the main characters up brushstroke by brushstroke into complex, multilayered individuals. Crazy Horse is an admirable fighter who battles for the right reasons and this novel gives an authentic look into his mind and thought processes, which were fascinating. A story of protection and betrayal, of courage, wit, and perseverance against unfathomable odds, this tale grapples with essential questions about who owns land: those who are born on it, or those who would kill to claim it? Questions still being asked until this day. This is historical fiction at its absolute finest. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ben Denison

    VACATION BOOK #8 (8 of 10 during vacation of 6/11-6/27). This was done via an audiobook during drive from Pitkin, CO to Kansas City, KS This new historical fiction by the author of “The Revenant” was excellent. He seamlessly followed storylines of the Army leadership, to Army wive’s, the Indians, scouts, and cattle Drivers all vividly expressing their thoughts, reasoning, strategies, and outlook on the events. Great action (fighting parts reminded me of the breathless Matthew Reilly novels) enjoye VACATION BOOK #8 (8 of 10 during vacation of 6/11-6/27). This was done via an audiobook during drive from Pitkin, CO to Kansas City, KS This new historical fiction by the author of “The Revenant” was excellent. He seamlessly followed storylines of the Army leadership, to Army wive’s, the Indians, scouts, and cattle Drivers all vividly expressing their thoughts, reasoning, strategies, and outlook on the events. Great action (fighting parts reminded me of the breathless Matthew Reilly novels) enjoyed this book very much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Glen

    I won this book in a goodreads drawing. The story of what was then called a massacre, of the US Army by the Sioux and various other tribes of Indians. Told by several different viewpoints. Mainly told from the point of view of Crazy Horse, who has become almost a demigod, as his legend is retold over and over. Here, he is a young man working with Red Cloud. The army has just moved into the Sioux hunting grounds, and we get the points of view of a couple of officers, the famous scout, Jim Bridger, I won this book in a goodreads drawing. The story of what was then called a massacre, of the US Army by the Sioux and various other tribes of Indians. Told by several different viewpoints. Mainly told from the point of view of Crazy Horse, who has become almost a demigod, as his legend is retold over and over. Here, he is a young man working with Red Cloud. The army has just moved into the Sioux hunting grounds, and we get the points of view of a couple of officers, the famous scout, Jim Bridger, a German bugler, and the wife of one of the officers. There's some good writing here, but I found the whole thing to be a little too smooth to be authentic.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    "They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one. Then promised to take our land...then took it." Red Cloud Historical fiction transports readers to another time and place, either real or imagined. Writing historical fiction requires a balance of research and creativity, and while it often includes real people and events, the genre offers a fiction writer many opportunities to tell a wholly unique story. Although it is historical fiction "Ridgeline" is amazing story bas "They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one. Then promised to take our land...then took it." Red Cloud Historical fiction transports readers to another time and place, either real or imagined. Writing historical fiction requires a balance of research and creativity, and while it often includes real people and events, the genre offers a fiction writer many opportunities to tell a wholly unique story. Although it is historical fiction "Ridgeline" is amazing story based on the tragedy of Fetterman's Massacre in 1866. While building Fort Phil Kearny the U.S. military built it in the middle of Native American hunting grounds, another broken treaty. Desperate to reclaim their lands the Sioux put up a fight to regain their territory. Michael Punk does amazing job of writing this novel. His research into this period is stellar, as is his description of the Lakota and Fort life. Best of all is his attention to his geography of this area. His description of the Wyoming plains and mountains that served the tribes methods of warfare brought a clear imagery in my mind of how much Native American's valued and respected their land. While U.S. forces did not consider or appreciate the elements of the terrain by destroying many tree's in the area to build a fort. Bringing to life Red Cloud and Crazy Horse and how each fed off each other to build a plan of survival was very interesting. Also, bringing to life the major military men of Col. Carrington, Lt. Grummond, and Capt. Fetterman whose relationships are much more antagonistic then their enemies is the result of good writing and research. The story culminates in a bloody battle. This was one of the parts of the book I did not like. Not because it was bloody, but because it was long. The battle took up almost the last 80 pages in the book. If you're into how a cavalry operates or about what weapons that were used this might intrigue you. I was a little bored about 1/2 way through the battle. Overall, Ridgeline is an exceptionally atmospheric, nuanced, beautifully written novel by Punke that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, personalities, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be affected.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    Solid! Full review soon!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    US vs Lakota and other Indian tribes as the decisions made by various men in charge bring death and destruction to many. The topic is a sad commentary on government getting things wrong and putting the wrong people on horses and sending them to build forts on land that had been Indian hunting grounds over the centuries. I particularly enjoyed learning of Jim Bridger, Mountain Man. I was not familiar with him and he brought a spark of hope to the narrative. The author lists many books of reference US vs Lakota and other Indian tribes as the decisions made by various men in charge bring death and destruction to many. The topic is a sad commentary on government getting things wrong and putting the wrong people on horses and sending them to build forts on land that had been Indian hunting grounds over the centuries. I particularly enjoyed learning of Jim Bridger, Mountain Man. I was not familiar with him and he brought a spark of hope to the narrative. The author lists many books of reference for further reading. For me, the writing in this book was a bit clunky at times...uneven. We enter the scene in the west in July, 1866....action leading up to December, 1866 action leads up to the Fetterman Massacre and the US government surrendering to Red Cloud and the allied tribes that actually took two years to be finalized in 1868. Library Loan

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bob Baen

    I thought this was an excellent book. I recommend it to those interested in the Plains Indians and especially Crazy Horse. The author does a great job of attempting to be historically accurate in places where he fictionalized dialogue and timelines. He did his best to present the truth as he saw it, as it was necessary to cull through many conflicting reports of events.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Christina Stroff

    Excellent!! Enjoyed this part of history I didn’t know about. I love learning about Crazy Horse.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nel

    I. Am. Speechless. But I must rally, because I HAVE to share with you, what a 𝐌𝐀𝐆𝐍𝐈𝐅𝐈𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐓 novel this was... As most of you know, I am a sucker for Historical Fiction, and I have often said that WWII Fiction is my fave, but quite honestly, Old West HF is right up there on my list too, and @mwpunke has renewed my enthusiasm for it by bringing this astonishing history to life. In this heartbreaking, eye-opening saga, we meet so many incredible real-life individuals and catch a glimpse of their charact I. Am. Speechless. But I must rally, because I HAVE to share with you, what a 𝐌𝐀𝐆𝐍𝐈𝐅𝐈𝐂𝐄𝐍𝐓 novel this was... As most of you know, I am a sucker for Historical Fiction, and I have often said that WWII Fiction is my fave, but quite honestly, Old West HF is right up there on my list too, and @mwpunke has renewed my enthusiasm for it by bringing this astonishing history to life. In this heartbreaking, eye-opening saga, we meet so many incredible real-life individuals and catch a glimpse of their character and complexity. Granted, many of their thoughts and interactions are imagined, but the historical accuracy of this novel is truly impressive. There is so much depth in this novel. So much heart and soul. I came to know the men and women on both sides and felt such a camaraderie with so many of them. I rooted for them and cried with them and found a whole new understanding for many of the individuals involved in these battles in the early settlement of the West. In particular, I was grateful to the author for sharing a history that I knew nothing about - The Fetterman Massacre - a battle that should have been in all our history books. And while there is much controversy about Own Voices, I so appreciate an author that lifts up the marginalized in our society and brings awareness to our past transgressions as a nation. Bravo Mr. Punke. "𝕿𝖍𝖊𝖞 𝖒𝖆𝖉𝖊 𝖚𝖘 𝖒𝖆𝖓𝖞 𝖕𝖗𝖔𝖒𝖎𝖘𝖊𝖘, 𝖒𝖔𝖗𝖊 𝖙𝖍𝖆𝖓 𝕴 𝖈𝖆𝖓 𝖗𝖊𝖒𝖊𝖒𝖇𝖊𝖗. 𝕭𝖚𝖙 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖞 𝖐𝖊𝖕𝖙 𝖇𝖚𝖙 𝖔𝖓𝖊. 𝕿𝖍𝖊𝖞 𝖕𝖗𝖔𝖒𝖎𝖘𝖊𝖉 𝖙𝖔 𝖙𝖆𝖐𝖊 𝖔𝖚𝖗 𝖑𝖆𝖓𝖉... 𝖆𝖓𝖉 𝖙𝖍𝖊𝖞 𝖙𝖔𝖔𝖐 𝖎𝖙." -𝕽𝖊𝖉 𝕮𝖑𝖔𝖚𝖉 Many thanks to Henry Holt & Co. and @netgalley for gifting me with this advanced reader's copy in exchange for an honest review. For more of my reviews, check out my book blog, mamasgottaread.blogspot.com or follow me on Instagram, @mamasgottaread .

  16. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    I received a complimentary copy of RIDGELINE by Michael Punke from Henry Holt & Company. RIDGELINE is set in 1866 while the US is still recovering from the Civil War. Moving westward, the army has taken up residence in the land that belongs to the Native American tribes. Though they claim to have permission, the truth is that the permission came from some tribes who aren’t actually local to the land they elect to build their new fort on. The book follows multiple POVs including Crazy Horse who is I received a complimentary copy of RIDGELINE by Michael Punke from Henry Holt & Company. RIDGELINE is set in 1866 while the US is still recovering from the Civil War. Moving westward, the army has taken up residence in the land that belongs to the Native American tribes. Though they claim to have permission, the truth is that the permission came from some tribes who aren’t actually local to the land they elect to build their new fort on. The book follows multiple POVs including Crazy Horse who is among those working to dissuade the US Army from taking their land, several members of the US Army, and the wife of one of the lieutenants intent on stamping down the local population. The book begins as the battle between parties is about to hit its peak, then takes the reader back in time about six months to see how this came to be. This really was an interesting fictional look at very real events from history. It is clear that he author put a lot of time and energy into the research to flesh out these characters. He delivers many conflicting viewpoints from those in charge determined to build the fort and stand against the local’s outcry to those who wonder what they are doing to the natural beauty of the land so long held by the Native American tribes they are warring against. I really enjoyed getting the perspective of Crazy Horse. In the early chapters, he is introducing his younger brother to the ways of their tribe from hunting to some of their ceremonies. This gives the reader some insight without it feeling like an info dump. I also really liked getting the perspective of one of the army wives. Her portions of the book are mostly delivered through journal accounts – both the ‘proper’ journal wherein she describes things as she is probably meant to and her really personal journal where she addresses it as a friend and really spills her true feelings about her difficult way of life. The author notes in the end were also very interesting, discussing the characters he focused on and how much was actually known about them from the historical record. This isn’t a time that I have read a lot about and I appreciated the insights the author shared. I think this would be a great read for any fan of historical fiction from this time period. RIDGELINE is out on 6/1/2021!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beachbumgarner

    This is an incredible fictionalized story of the Fetterman Massacre in 1866 Wyoming. As gold miners began to flood the area along the Montana Road (Bozeman Trail) through native sacred hunting grounds, the US govt decided to build a fort, Fort Phil Kearny, to protect miners and pioneers. Over a 6 month period, the Lakota's try to discourage whites from building or from taking over their land (cutting down the trees for the fort and ruining the water supply). Crazy Horse and Red Cloud finally ent This is an incredible fictionalized story of the Fetterman Massacre in 1866 Wyoming. As gold miners began to flood the area along the Montana Road (Bozeman Trail) through native sacred hunting grounds, the US govt decided to build a fort, Fort Phil Kearny, to protect miners and pioneers. Over a 6 month period, the Lakota's try to discourage whites from building or from taking over their land (cutting down the trees for the fort and ruining the water supply). Crazy Horse and Red Cloud finally entice the Arapaho and Crow, traditional enemies, along with their friends, the Cheyennes, to fight together against the white military. It's a battle we don't hear much about, probably because the all the soldiers were killed, and it was all preventable. Punke, in his thorough research, discovered that the armies story of what happened, and the stories of civilian survivors, are very different. I liked this book better than The Revenant, and I liked that he gave historical notes at the end to include what happened to each of the characters. And I loved that he thanked his barber in the Acknowledgements--"She gave great haircuts and she knew cattle." He is a writer who knows where to get the "real scoop" and also, gives credit where it's due! A wonderful read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Harris

    This book needs to be on reading lists for one of the best books of the year. Other than the fact that you can create a drinking game around how often the author uses the word, "instants" (as in "a matter of instants" or "briefest of instants"), this is a must read if you enjoy historical fiction or war novels, or just great literature. Taking place in the wake of the Civil War, the American Army wants to build a fort to assist with the passage of people seeking their fortunes for gold in Montan This book needs to be on reading lists for one of the best books of the year. Other than the fact that you can create a drinking game around how often the author uses the word, "instants" (as in "a matter of instants" or "briefest of instants"), this is a must read if you enjoy historical fiction or war novels, or just great literature. Taking place in the wake of the Civil War, the American Army wants to build a fort to assist with the passage of people seeking their fortunes for gold in Montana. However, this decision encroaches on Sioux land of some of their tribes, the Oglagla and the Minnicoujou. What results is a game of cat-and-mouse where the tribes led by Crazy Horse frustrate the Army's efforts. Told from both sides and a variety of perspectives, this book was perfectly paced and relates an important part of our nation's history that is overlooked in the historical fiction genre.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel Galletta

    Another amazing book by Michael Punke. I hope he continues to write historical fiction, although his nonfiction books are just as good. Ridgeline is so well written, filled with characters that have amazing stories and giving the reader a sense of what it was like for the US soldiers and civilians on the frontier and for the native people who were having their land so unjustly stolen from them. I particularly appreciated Punke's telling of the native side of the story--a side that isn't told oft Another amazing book by Michael Punke. I hope he continues to write historical fiction, although his nonfiction books are just as good. Ridgeline is so well written, filled with characters that have amazing stories and giving the reader a sense of what it was like for the US soldiers and civilians on the frontier and for the native people who were having their land so unjustly stolen from them. I particularly appreciated Punke's telling of the native side of the story--a side that isn't told often enough. And he seemed to take care to tell the native side with respect and only after doing proper research and getting insight from the native community. It amazes me how much of the story is historically accurate. I just wish the book contained more information about Red Cloud. In the same way the book tells the story of Carrington and the captians and leiutenants, I think there was a missed opportunity to tell more of the story of Red cloud.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kerry Pickens

    I wanted to really love this book, the writing is very tight and descriptive. This author that also wrote The Revenant that was made into a film with Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. My problem with the book is that the plots moves painfully slow. There are two separate narratives, one with an Sioux Indian chief who is facing war with the American military forces that are encroaching into his world, and the other is a military wife who discovers that she is stuck out in the wilderness with a biga I wanted to really love this book, the writing is very tight and descriptive. This author that also wrote The Revenant that was made into a film with Leonard DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. My problem with the book is that the plots moves painfully slow. There are two separate narratives, one with an Sioux Indian chief who is facing war with the American military forces that are encroaching into his world, and the other is a military wife who discovers that she is stuck out in the wilderness with a bigamist husband and pregnancy that traps her in this toxic relationship. I just wanted the book to have a larger conflict and get on with it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tara Engel

    I love when reading a new released book opens you up to reading their previous work. That is just what this book did by being that good. Makes you hungry for more by the author. Not a typical subject I would be interested in but the writing pulls you in and feel as if you are in the time and place with the characters.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Grant

    3.3- Ok, but just ok. I enjoyed the Crazy Horse storyline but the supporting narrative was flat for me. Maybe because I enjoyed 'Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History' so much. I would recommend this book for those who are interested in this viewpoint of history. 3.3- Ok, but just ok. I enjoyed the Crazy Horse storyline but the supporting narrative was flat for me. Maybe because I enjoyed 'Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History' so much. I would recommend this book for those who are interested in this viewpoint of history.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Blake Ferguson

    Couldn't put it down. Best western story I have read in quite a long time. Couldn't put it down. Best western story I have read in quite a long time.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Chaya Nebel

    This sprawling historical fictional account of the battle known as the Fetterman Massacre, between American Indians and the US Army, presents a wide, if not deep, historical and geographical context to the fight. The range of the book is only a few months, beginning when the US Army sets up in Sioux territory to build Fort Phil Kearney, and ending with the infamous battle, but the scope of the novel widens to present the points of view of several key and secondary players. In particular, the the This sprawling historical fictional account of the battle known as the Fetterman Massacre, between American Indians and the US Army, presents a wide, if not deep, historical and geographical context to the fight. The range of the book is only a few months, beginning when the US Army sets up in Sioux territory to build Fort Phil Kearney, and ending with the infamous battle, but the scope of the novel widens to present the points of view of several key and secondary players. In particular, the the author focuses on the viewpoints of Lt. Grummond, Crazy Horse, Jim Bridger, bugler Adolph Metzger, Lt. Grummond's wife, among others, and the different points of view give us a sense of the context and importance of the fort, this land, the people of the outpost, the idealism as well as the brutality of the American push towards the West, as well as the resistance from the Natives. Yes, this is a vast landscape of a story, as vast as the Wyoming setting, and the reader gets a good sense of the time, place and causes behind the characters' actions. But it's a bit of a slog, with very little action. It's the literary equivalent of a Ken Burns documentary: thorough, with lots of voices, but time-consuming and glacially paced. The author also doesn't hide his disdain for the white characters and his near deification of the Native Americans. In that sense it betrays the author's prejudices too clearly. Carrington is portrayed as bemused, slightly in over his head, and feckless; Grummond is a drunken polygamist; Margaret Carrington is bigoted against the laundresses; the French baker surreptitiously sells homemade hooch, and so on. On the other hand, the Sioux chief, Red Cloud, is wise, sober, and thoughtful; Crazy Horse is similarly noble, caring about the land where the whites do not, etc. In one exchange Lone Bear, Crazy Horse's friend, wonders how the whites have used all their body parts for evil, asking, "Are their hearts pure?" We are given to understand that the Indians live in contrast to them, using their bodies to perfection. Later on Crazy Horse notes that the whites are different from any other enemy, in that "they fight only for the purpose of killing." For an author of historical fiction to whitewash (so to speak) how brutal and violent the warrior cultures of the Indians were is just unforgiveable, if only from a literary perspective, in which the highest good comes not from idealizing one group of people and demonizing the other, but from delineating the ambiguity and complexity in the human character and soul, the shades of good and evil in every single human being. That is absent here in this morality tale.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Scott Hefte

    Brilliant. An amazing recounting of Crazy Horse and his dealings with Fort Kearney. It was a historical fiction thriller. I struggled to put it down, especially near the end. I loved The Revenant, both the movie, but especially the book. I had been excited for Ridgeline to be released for a long time and Punke didn’t disappoint.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Vivid, moving, and exceptionally enthralling! Ridgeline is an intricate, insightful tale that sweeps you away to the plains of Wyoming in the fall of 1866 when tensions between the soldiers and settlers of the newly formed Fort Phil Kearney and the Sioux people simmers and builds until it finally comes to a head on December 21, 1866, when infamous Lakota leader, Crazy Horse leads a band of multiple tribes in an artfully strategized assault and slaughter of 81 men on Lodge Trail Ridge that not onl Vivid, moving, and exceptionally enthralling! Ridgeline is an intricate, insightful tale that sweeps you away to the plains of Wyoming in the fall of 1866 when tensions between the soldiers and settlers of the newly formed Fort Phil Kearney and the Sioux people simmers and builds until it finally comes to a head on December 21, 1866, when infamous Lakota leader, Crazy Horse leads a band of multiple tribes in an artfully strategized assault and slaughter of 81 men on Lodge Trail Ridge that not only left this US Army outpost decimated but ultimately foreshadowed the bloodbath yet to come in the 1876 Battle of the Little Bighorn. The writing is eloquent and expressive. The characters are determined, troubled, and strategic. And the plot using a mix of narration, diary entries, and told from multiple POVs, intertwines and unravels seamlessly into a harrowing tale of life, loss, hardship, culture, dissension, hostility, violence, survival, war, and murder. Overall, Ridgeline is an exceptionally atmospheric, nuanced, beautifully written novel by Punke that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the feelings, personalities, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be affected. It is undoubtedly one of my favourite novels of the year that does a wonderful job of reminding us of the extreme conflict and savagery that once graced these vast, rugged, prairie lands that some of us now call home. Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hardin

    Very well written book. Brings history of the frontier to life.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Linda Gabel

    First I want to disclose that I never read the Revenant, nor did I see the movie. So this is an unbiased view of Ridgeline. I have read nonfiction books on Nelson Story, Red Cloud and this battle. Punke really made history come alive for me with this novel. I could visualize the characters, empathize with their feelings, could picture the fort and the Indian gatherings. The characters’ lives in this story were as realistic as I could imagine them to be, yet not overdone. I also appreciated the a First I want to disclose that I never read the Revenant, nor did I see the movie. So this is an unbiased view of Ridgeline. I have read nonfiction books on Nelson Story, Red Cloud and this battle. Punke really made history come alive for me with this novel. I could visualize the characters, empathize with their feelings, could picture the fort and the Indian gatherings. The characters’ lives in this story were as realistic as I could imagine them to be, yet not overdone. I also appreciated the author remaining true to most of the known facts of this battle. At the end of the book, Punke does outline areas where he took liberties with facts, but I did not feel anything took away from the actual story of the battle. This novel gave me insight into the strategies and feelings of those involved in such a battle and glimpses of life in the ‘Wild West.’ I do love historical fiction and this was a fun read for me. Would definitely recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    Ridgeline by Michael Punke (author of The Revnant), ARC, pub date June 2021, Ridgeline is a book historical novel fans will NOT want to miss this year. It is rare that I will give a book 5 stars because there are not many which rate them in any genre. 1. The story is uncommon: the beginning of the range war between the U.S. Army and the Native Plains Indians, one where the Indians won in Dec. 21, 1866, battle known as the Fetterman Massacre in Red Cloud's War. 2. The story has multiple points of Ridgeline by Michael Punke (author of The Revnant), ARC, pub date June 2021, Ridgeline is a book historical novel fans will NOT want to miss this year. It is rare that I will give a book 5 stars because there are not many which rate them in any genre. 1. The story is uncommon: the beginning of the range war between the U.S. Army and the Native Plains Indians, one where the Indians won in Dec. 21, 1866, battle known as the Fetterman Massacre in Red Cloud's War. 2. The story has multiple points of view from authentic characters. The most well-known are James Beckwourth, Jim Bridger, Chief Red Cloud and Crazy Horse. 3. Believable dialogue has been created. 4. It is well-written and the prose is beautiful. Now I want to visit this remote area of north central Wyoming. 5. Interest is sustained from the beginning to the end. 6. There are 3 brief chapters revealing the aftermath of this battle. 7. And lastly, there are historical notes and suggestions for further reading.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    This book literally kept me glued to every page. I am the first to admit I am not very familiar with this part of American history, so I found it captivating. The book is told in different perspectives in the months leading to December 21, 1866 and continues during the battle and afterwards. Each perspective gave a fresh view in the lives of these very real people. I believe anyone who wants a book that is light, but full of details about this time period will enjoy it! I’m actually excited to re This book literally kept me glued to every page. I am the first to admit I am not very familiar with this part of American history, so I found it captivating. The book is told in different perspectives in the months leading to December 21, 1866 and continues during the battle and afterwards. Each perspective gave a fresh view in the lives of these very real people. I believe anyone who wants a book that is light, but full of details about this time period will enjoy it! I’m actually excited to reread it in the future! I won this book in a giveaway.

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