Hampton Sides's extraordinary book brings the history of the American conquest of the West to ringing life.
It is a tale with many heroes and villains, but at the centre of it all stands the remarkable figure of Kit Carson - the legendary trapper, scout and soldier.
Carson was an illiterate mountain man who twice married Indian women and understood the tribes better than any other American alive; yet he was also a cold-blooded killer and an unquestioning patriot who willingly followed orders tantamount to massacre.
BLOOD AND THUNDER is a chronicle of one of a pivotal era in American history: grand in scope, immediate in detail, impeccably researched and historically revelatory. 'Hampton Sides' outstanding narrative history has all the virtues: stirring set pieces, deft character studies, colourful descriptions of battles and of nature . . . a riveting tale where, for once, the word "epic" is not hyperbole'Frank McLynn, Independent on Sunday