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Follow the River | [James Alexander Thom]

Follow the River

Mary Ingles was 23, happily married, and pregnant with her third child when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement in 1755 and kidnapped her, leaving behind a bloody massacre. For months they held her captive. But nothing could imprison her spirit. With the rushing Ohio River as her guide, Mary Ingles walked one thousand miles through an untamed wilderness no white woman had ever seen.
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Publisher's Summary

Mary Ingles was 23, happily married, and pregnant with her third child when Shawnee Indians invaded her peaceful Virginia settlement in 1755 and kidnapped her, leaving behind a bloody massacre. For months they held her captive. But nothing could imprison her spirit.

With the rushing Ohio River as her guide, Mary Ingles walked one thousand miles through an untamed wilderness no white woman had ever seen. Her story lives on - extraordinary testimony to the indomitable strength of one pioneer woman who risked her life to return to her own people.

©1981 James A. Thom (P)2010 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (322 )
5 star
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4.1 (274 )
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  •  
    Marie Klamath Falls, OR, United States 01-12-11
    Marie Klamath Falls, OR, United States 01-12-11 Member Since 2007

    I love history,I am into genealogy, my iPod is my constant companion. Favorite authors...D. Gabaldon, N. DeMille, K. Follett, E. Rutherfurd

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    "Amazing tale of survival"

    I read the written version of this book about 15 years ago and it was one that stayed with me. Some books are read and forgotten, this is one I guarantee you will not soon forget. I was so happy when I found the audio version (unabridged thank goodness), because every step of Mary Ingles journey is detailed. Not necessarily for the faint of heart or one who insists on being politically correct. It shows the savagery of the indians but also gives some insight as to why. If you are a history buff you will definately enjoy this book. David Drummond was very good as the narrator. As you can see I have given it five stars....I will definately listen to it again.

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LeeAnne Sandston, VA, United States 12-24-11
    LeeAnne Sandston, VA, United States 12-24-11 Member Since 2009
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    "This is a great book written by a marvelous author"

    James Alexander Thom is an amazing writer. I have read everything he has written. This book is one of his best. It is a story about a woman who is abducted from her homestead by Indians. The main character, Mary Ingles, experiences unbelievable physical and mental hardships but manages to survive because she kept her head and out thought her captors. The thing that makes this books so remarkable is that it is a true story. I won't say more and give away the plot. Just get this book, you won't regret it! Then look for Thom's "Long Knife" which is just as good or even better.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    dennise rodgers 12-12-12 Member Since 2010
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    "What a Wonderful Listen!"
    Any additional comments?

    This is one of my all time favorite audible listens, for many reasons. The fact that it is a true, amazing survival tale and speaks to the limits of endurance that a person can be capable of, is astonishing, (especially considering that the main characters in this odyssey are women)! The authors ability to take known facts about this arduous adventure in history and embelish them with a wonderful narrative is really a beautiful thing. And the narrator himself does a fantastic job with the differing accents and nuances of the characters speech. He does his job so well that you barely know that he is there, you get so caught up in this amazing story. If you have never heard of this tale set in the early American frontier, you are in store for an amazing journey! A really, really great listen!

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 11-13-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2008
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    "Drama and Anticipation"

    What a great story! This is the story of Mary Ingles who was captured by Shawnee Indians around 1750. Without giving anything away, she escapes and follows the New River home to West Virginia some 500 miles on foot in winter without supplies. A great tale of perseverance, love and determination with lots of action. I was so surprised at the end when listening to the Author's Note to learn that this was (basically) a true story. Warning - there are some very violent, detailed descriptions of Indian attacks on settlers that will be too gruesome for some readers.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lia Sutton, Australia 12-03-13
    Lia Sutton, Australia 12-03-13 Member Since 2009

    I love all genres of books. However, when I listen to audio books as I clean, garden, drive they are better with a lot of heat!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing and Heartbreaking Story of Survival"

    Mary Ingles is an inspiration of the possibilities of endurance of the human spirit. Victim of a brutal Shawnee attack in the summer of 1755 she is force marched from Virginia to Shawnee, Ohio while nine months pregnant giving birth on the trail. She is sold into slavery and taked to the area near Big Bone Lick State Park in Kentucky. Together with an old Dutch woman she escapes and begins a 1,000 mile trek home through unknown and hostile wilderness. In 43 harrowing days she goes from 125 pounds to under 80 pounds as she faces the elements, starvation, wild animals, hostile Indians, implacable nature, and a companion that turns cannibal. The reader shares the agony of the journey with Mary as she must go the final miles on her hands and knees. The most amazing thing about the story is it is true. Like his other historical novels Thom has done his research and he makes the history come alive for his reader.
    David Drummond was inspirational with the delivery of the story.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    carrie North Texas, United States 06-19-11
    carrie North Texas, United States 06-19-11

    Interested in historical fiction, intriguing characters and foreign cultures.

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    "This.is.storytelling."

    Far too many writers tell, not show. Thom shows you exactly what Mary's seeing. You feel her physical pains and mental anguish, you think you can reach out and touch her to give her a hug Thom puts you in the scene so well. Of course it helps to have interesting material as well! If you like this book, you'll love Lucia St. Clair Robson's Ride the Wind. It's also historical fiction... about another strong brave woman, Cynthia Ann Parker. Loved the narrator for this version also! I fear I won't be able to find another audiobook to measure up!

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Longview, TX, United States 11-20-12
    Linda Longview, TX, United States 11-20-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Inspiring Story"

    This is an engaging fictionalization of a true story of the American frontier. I was engaged by the story and reading. Finishing the book, I looked for information on the true events and found that they were remarkably similar to the fictionalized version. This is truly an incredible tale of courage and determination. Well worth the read.

    I gave this a 4 as an excellent read. I seldom give 5 stars.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Utah 03-16-14
    Amazon Customer Utah 03-16-14 Member Since 2009

    tired teacher

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    "Wow! Based on a true story."

    Wow! What a story! I was completely caught up in this story for most of the book. I was a bit surprised to find, after I had read the whole thing, that this story is based on fact. That makes it all the more amazing. Mr. Thom did so much great research on this story and then put together a compelling work of fact fleshed out by his own imagination. He lost me a little bit when the character Mary climbed over mountains for several days in a row stark naked in freezing weather with no food. I kept thinking, "If it is so cold that a rock cannot be budged from the frozen ground, surely this naked woman cannot survive for more than several hours without any kind of shelter and no food for any kind of energy." But survive she did. I also found myself thinking that with a river running right by her and a whole forest on both sides, surely a woman as smart and resourceful as she was could figure out a way to find food, start a fire (although understandably she did not want to so she wouldn't be found) and make herself some kind of covering. But even with that inconsistency, I really enjoyed the story. **Semi-spoiler alert:** I do have to add that I understand why she left, but will never understand how she could leave her children. Perhaps she intended to go back after them, but that did not happen.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-13-13
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 05-13-13 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

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    "Worthwhile, amazing story you won't soon forget"

    A few spoilers, perhaps.

    Mary Ingles' escape from the Shawnee Indians in 1755 is such an incredible true story. The beginning of her story is a tough read, as it describes an Indian massacre in detail. Although I thought I was prepared for this telling, it was still disturbing. Mary's time spent in captivity, although only several months, also is a fair chunk of the story, very interesting yet not quite as disturbing.

    I was fascinated her trip to freedom. It is written in a manner that you feel you are right there with her day after tortuous day. The relationship that progressed between Mary and her companion, in all its developments, rang true and certainly seemed believable. It seemed the obstacles would never cease as Mary plodded along following various rivers, starving and naked. While the story sometimes seemed beyond belief, I have read other true survival tales and continue to be amazed at what a human body can go through when determined to survive.

    I especially appreciated the author's comments at the end of the book.

    Highly recommended.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 03-16-13
    tracy thatcher, AZ, United States 03-16-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Unbelievable!"

    I am amazed that in the 1700's a young girl and an old woman could actually cross the wild frontier that none other but the Native Americans had done before them. The story of Mary Ingles is riveting. She is strong, kind, and focused. Her relationship with Gretta is at times wonderful and at others quite intense. I like to read period books, and while this one was written in the 1980s, it was taken from a real person from the colonial times. I am sure that it is not all factual, but still an amazing story. Read it, you won't be sorry.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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