The deadly crack of a long rifle and the piercing cries of Indians on the warpath shatter the serenity of beautiful lake Glimmerglass. Danger has invaded the vast forests of upper New York State as Deerslayer and his loyal Mohican friend Chingachgook attempt the daring rescue of an Indian maiden imprisoned in a Huron camp. Soon they are caught in the crossfire between a cunning enemy and two white bounty hunters who mercilessly kill for profit. The last of the Leatherstocking tales to be written, though first in the chronology of the hero's life, "The Deerslayer" is James Fenimore Cooper's masterpiece. A fine combination of romance, adventure, and morality; this classic novel of the frontier is an eloquent beginning for Cooper's great wilderness saga--and an unforgettable introduction to the famous character who has said to embody the conscience of America: the noble woodsman Deerslayer.
James Fenimore Cooper was the great professional American author. He was born on Septenber 15, 1789, in Burlington, New Jersey, and grew up in the frontier village of Cooperstown, New Yorrk, in the heart of the wilderness he was to immortalize in his frontier novels. A high-spirited youth, he was expelled from Yale because of a prank and was finally signed by the navy by his strong-willed father. In 1819 a trfling incident repordatly led to the writing of his first book. Reading aloud to his wife from a populr English novel, he exclaimed, "I could write you a better book myself!" The result was Precausion (1820), which followed in 1821 by his first real success, The Spy. Cooper became a prolific writer, creating two unique genres that were to become staples in American literature-the sea romance and the frontier adventure story. The first of the famous Leatherstocking tales, The Pioneers, appeared in 1823 and introduced the wilderness scout Natty Bumppo. This detailed portrait of frontier life has been called the first truly American novel. In The Last of the Mohicans (1826) Natty Bumppo becomes the well-loved Hawkeye befriended by the noble Indian Chingachgook; the novel remains a favorite American classic. Other Leatherstocking tales were The Prairie (1827), The Pathfinder (1840) influenced both Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad and led to the use of the sea novel as vehicle for spiritual and moral explorations. Cooper also wrote political satire, romance, and the meticulously researched History of the Navy of the United States of America (1839). By the time of his death on September 14, 1851, he was considered America's "national novelist."