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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 (396 )
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4.1 (333 )
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  •  
    Marie L Walker 01-12-11 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 15 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 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dennise 12-12-12
    Dennise 12-12-12 Member Since 2015
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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 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 11-13-12
    Elisabeth Durham, NC, United States 11-13-12 Member Since 2015
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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 8 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 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-28-14
    B.J. Minneapolis, MN, United States 01-28-14 Member Since 2010

    I hear voices. But maybe that's because there's always an Audible book in my ear.

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    "Horrible treatment of a true story"

    Can I give this negative stars? I wish I could. It doesn't belong in History or Historical Fiction. The way the author has treated this story makes it a good candidate for Romance. This book is based on the true story of one of history's most remarkable survivors. That the author found a need to put bodice ripper crap in it is criminal.

    I would really love to see a serious non-fiction writer do this subject justice. Cut it by half, skip all the crap and go for facts. Mary Draper Ingles was an amazing woman. Someone needs to really tell her story. And when you're done, get a different narrator.

    14 of 19 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Longview, TX, United States 11-20-12
    Linda Longview, TX, United States 11-20-12 Member Since 2012
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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 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-19-13
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 09-19-13 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

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    "Story of Unbelievable Stamina and Determination"

    This novel comes from the true story of Mary Ingles, a young wife and mother in Virginia who was captured by the Shawnee Indians in 1755 and kept prisoner, along with her two young sons, and her sister-in-law. After killing many in her small settlement and burning them out, the Indians captured them and took them along the treacherous trails that would wind around the rivers until they would reach Big Bone Lick in what is now Kentucky. The trip, even on horseback, traveling to the salt lick with the Indians was frightening and dangerous, and Mary, who gave birth to a baby girl along the way, feared she would die. I was absolutely fascinated by this tale . . . having been born in the state of Kentucky and visited Big Bone Lick for myself . . . and having driven many times along the Ohio River which borders between Kentucky and Indiana, and Kentucky and Ohio . . . It is a giant, wide river that feeds into the Mississippi River at Cairo, Illinois. And equally amazing to me, as I have a son who lives in Virginia, and I frequently DRIVE the long drive over the mountains (so beautiful beneath the rising sunlight . . . I agree with Mary Ingles), is that any person, much less a woman could muster up the courage to drudge through that terrain to get home. The narration of this book is perfect, the thoughtfulness of the author in determining exactly what these two woman must have encountered during their horrendous journey is spot on , and the way in which he portrays their wide array of emotions is to be applauded. I cannot recommend it enough.

    3 of 4 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.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sher from Provo Utah 03-16-14
    Sher from Provo Utah 03-16-14 Member Since 2015

    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 9 people found this review helpful

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