Forge, Jul 2002, 27.95, 384 pp.
In 1803 President Thomas Jefferson assigns his friend fellow Virginian Meriweather Lewis to explore the newly purchased Louisiana Territory. Lewis asks William Clark to co-command the daring expedition. When they complete their mission, a country is dazzled by their accomplishments and worships the courageous duo as heroes. Clark goes on to live a productive life basking in the glory of a living legend. However, Lewis goes into a state of mental decline that culminates in 1809 when he apparently committed suicide speculated by this novelization of their post expedition lives as caused by third-stage syphilis induced dementia.
ECLIPSE is a wonderful biographical fiction that uses Lewis and Clark to narrate alternate chapters as their lives following the expedition is vividly described. The novel is well written and brings a slice of a bygone era to life through an in depth psychological drama. Fans who prefer action-packed non-stop action will find the book a tad slow, but those in the audience who want to hear the rest of the story will appreciate this early nineteenth century Americana novelization.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner