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Follow the River  By  cover art

Follow the River

By: James Alexander Thom
Narrated by: David Drummond
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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 listeners say about Follow the River

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

37 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

21 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Lots of suffering but a very good book

STORY (true historical) - This is the story of Mary Ingles, a truly incredible woman. It begins with a brutal Indian raid on her pioneer settlement in Virginia where people are massacred and scalped. Pregnant Mary and her two sons are kidnapped and transported to an Indian village where they are held captive for several months, but Mary eventually manages to escape. Leaving her children behind, she begins a grueling 43-day trek 1,000 miles across the wilderness, with only the clothes on her back, a blanket, a knife, a tomahawk and a crazy old Dutch woman. The terrain is often mountainous and difficult, food is scarce and winter is approaching, but Mary is driven by a strong will to survive and to see her husband, Will, again. Her strength and courage is amazing and so is her story.

At the end of the book is a note from the author where he explains how he compiled his information to write this book, as well as some additional information. (And just FYI, this book is about Mary INGLES, not Mary INGALLS of Little House on the Prairie fame.)

PERFORMANCE - I can't quite understand why Audible chose a male to narrate the story of Mary Ingles. He tries his best to perform a female voice when she is supposed to be speaking but is not really able to inject proper emotion into that high voice. Sometimes the result is that she sounds too "perky" in what is otherwise a dire situation. Otherwise, he does a good job.

OVERALL - I'd recommend this book for adults who enjoy stories of pioneer America and don't mind listening to hours of hardship, challenge and suffering. I don't know why Audible suggests this book for teens. There are no teen characters and, while older teens could certainly hear this story, I don't think they'd enjoy it. There's a tad of profanity and no sexual acts, though there is discussion of potential Indian rape. Mary flashes back to passionate evenings with her husband, but they're described with almost no detail. The Indian raid at the beginning of the book is totally gross, and some of the treatment of the prisoners in the Indian village was very cruel as well.

16 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

15 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.

12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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!

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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I got it on sale - save your credit

I picked up this title on one of those $4.95 sales - now I know why it was on the cheap list. I was hoping for a historical American frontier tale of struggle and triumph mixed with charming bits of old-timey language and culture. I was disappointed. To be fair, I didn't make it all the way through but the combination of poor narration and weak writing did me in. I think the actual story behind it all is probably fascinating and worth hearing - I'm just not sure this book was the right container.

8 people found this helpful