For the past ten years William T. Vollmann has been working on one
of the most ambitious novelistic projects of his generation: a
seven-volume series of novels (Seven Dreams) that examines the
repeated collisions between Native Americans and European
colonizers and oppressors. Thus far, three novels have been
published: The Ice-Shirt, Fathers and Crows, and The Rifles.
In Argall, the third book in the series and the fourth to be
published, Vollmann alternates between extravagant Elizabethan
language and gritty realism in an attempt to imagine what the lives
of John Smith, Pocahontas, and their contemporaries might really
have been like. Behind all of these characters stands the
terrifying figure of Captain Samuel Argall, who will abduct
Pocahontas, burn Indian towns, and bring black slavery to North
America. This magnificent novel digs beneath the romantic legend of
Pocahontas and the betrayals, disappointments, and atrocities
behind it, offering a moving tale of dispossession that will appeal
to fans of history and contemporary fiction alike.
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