The Forest and the Fort more history than story

The Forest and the Fort is a historical novel about America’s prerevolutionary western frontier.

Salathiel Albine was raised as the son of a childless Indian chief who had murdered Sal’s family. An itinerant preacher befriends the young Sal, help him relearn English, teaches him to read and write, and brings him to the attention of Fort Pitt’s acting commander, Captain Ecuyer.

Ecuyer’s orderly trains Sal as his replacement. When Ecuyer is assigned to visit all the frontier forts, Sal accompanies him in a dual role of orderly and scout. Sal can scalp an enemy and powder a wig with equal efficiency.

Hervey Allen’s publishers brought out The Forest and the Fort  as the first of a trilogy intended to be read as a set. Much of the novel reads as a set-up to events that will happen in future books.

Allen slips all sorts of interesting period details into the novel, such as Ecuyer’s giving Indians handkerchiefs and blankets from the smallpox hospital. However, the plot is totally forgettable and none of the characters is memorable.

You will find the novel a palatable way to learn about the political conflicts of the 1700s, but you will find little entertainment in its pages.

The Forest and the Fort
By Hervey Allen
Farrar & Rinhart, 1943
344 pages
1943 bestseller # 9
My grade: C+

© 2013 Linda Gorton Aragoni


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Linda Aragoni

I'm passionate about helping people learn through the medium of nonfiction writing. Although I occasionally have an idea of my own, I mostly build education tools by recycling and repurposing other folks' ideas.

4 thoughts on “The Forest and the Fort more history than story”

  1. I came across your blog when looking for information about The Sun is my Undoing as I’m re-reading it at the moment. I grew up in Bristol and perhaps for this reason it was a popular book in my family as a reminder of the connection between slavery and Bristol’s development as a prosperous port. There are still vestiges of the city’s unsavoury past in street names like Whiteladies Road and Blackboys Hill – and in the huge mansions built for those who had made their fortunes in the slave trade.
    There are two sequels to the book – both of which I obtained at one time, with some difficulty as they were out of print. One is Twilight on the Floods (I think) and I’ve forgotten the name of the other. I’ve since lost both but might try and get hold of them as I’ve been absorbed in The Sun is My Undoing all afternoon!


    1. It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone who reads the old books. They really are part of our present, aren’t they?

      I didn’t know there were sequels to The Sun is My Undoing. (I don’t know how anyone could anyone write that book and have energy enough left to write another. That is amazing.) I’ll look for them. After I read a library copy of The Sun is My Undoing, I bought a copy for my own bookshelf. It’s it an extraordinary book.

      Thanks for sharing your story, Sue.


      1. Yes, Linda, Steen managed to continue the epic story! I’ve now found both the sequels on Amazon (both used, and I got them for 1p each, can you believe that – plus postage of course).
        One is Twilight on the Floods and the next is Phoenix Rising – though a Google search suggests there is another, called Jehovah Blues, which I THINK is the same book as Phoenix Rising (why the different title I wonder?)
        The sequels take the story forward quite a long way in time – Twilight is late 19th century while Phoenix Rising (described on Amazon as a “short and almost dispirited postscript to the story”) appears to be mid-20th century, with the latest Flood paying for the sins of her ancestors.


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