The novel starts when a party of British soldiers are deceived by their guide and nearly led into an ambush of scalp losing proportions. The effort however, is thwarted by frontiersman and all around good guy, Natty Bumpo, and his two Mohican pals. The rest of the novel is an elaborate game of cat and mouse with various characters being captured by the Huron Indian tribe and then rescued and then captured and then rescued.
At the end of the day, we were unable to fight through the tedious prose that destroyed The Last of the Mohicans. Somehow Cooper managed to extract all the excitement from the French and Indian War. Not one of the many high speed forest pursuits and suicidal rescue attempts managed to register on our internal adrenaline-o-meter (yes we have one of those). Maybe we went into this novel expecting something too much, but it probably doesn’t help that Daniel Day-Lewis was flipp’in awesome as Hawkeye in the 1992 film adaptation.
From a historical perspective it’s hard to argue against this novel’s merit. Everything from geography to the culture was presented in painstaking detail, though we’ll let someone smarter than us judge the accuracy. In a way, this novel was like The Swiss Family Robinsons where all the excitement was overshadowed by the overly descriptive narrative. For instance Natty Bumppo (Hawkeye) had something like eleven different names (maybe closer to 4 or 5) depending on which character was addressing him.
All we can do is pat ourselves on the back for not abandoning this read well before the finish line. We consider this a glorious accomplishment not for the faint of heart...