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Book Club Kits: Thirteen Moons

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Book Summary

This magnificent novel by one of America’s finest writers is the epic of one man’s remarkable journey, set in nineteenth-century America against the background of a vanishing people and a rich way of life.

At the age of twelve, under the Wind moon, Will is given a horse, a key, and a map, and sent alone into the Indian Nation to run a trading post as a bound boy. It is during this time that he grows into a man, learning, as he does, of the raw power it takes to create a life, to find a home. In a card game with a white Indian named Featherstone, Will wins – for a brief moment – a mysterious girl named Claire, and his passion and desire for her spans this novel. As Will’s destiny intertwines with the fate of the Cherokee Indians – including a Cherokee Chief named Bear – he learns how to fight and survive in the face of both nature and men, and eventually, under the Corn Tassel Moon, Will begins the fight against Washington City to preserve the Cherokee’s homeland and culture. And he will come to know the truth behind his belief that “only desire trumps time.”

Brilliantly imagined, written with great power and beauty by a master of American fiction, Thirteen Moons is a stunning novel about a man’s passion for a woman, and how loss, longing and love can shape a man’s destiny over the many moons of a life.

Read an excerpt from the novel.

Discussion Questions

  • What is your favorite passage from Thirteen Moons? Why?

  • How does Frazier capture the time period so well in his writing?

  • Is this how you envisioned the Cherokee Nation? Do you feel Frazier’s interpretation is authentic? Why or why not?

  • Who do you think Will was more influenced by in his life? Featherstone or Bear?

  • What do you think of Will’s choice to not go with Claire? Do you empathize with Claire’s reaction?

  • What is Frazier attempting to signify when Will and Bear must hunt down one of their own (Charley) in order to keep the land?

  • What was Will’s greatest accomplishment? What was his greatest failure?

  • In the end, do you think Will’s work for the Cherokee Nation was beneficial or futile?

  • Was there anything Will could have done differently in order to have Claire for his own?

  • Why does Thirteen Moons not end with the Nightland? Why does it end with the Bone Moon?

  • How does Thirteen Moons compare to Cold Mountain?