The River is Mine

John Wesley Powell's 1869 Exploration of the Green and Colorado Rivers and the Grand Canyon

a novel by ARDIAN GILL


A few years after the end of the Civil War, ten men in four boats set out to explore a thousand miles of river, from Wyoming to the Gulf of California, a route previous explorers and even the Indians consider to be impassable. The are a pick-up crew of rough frontiersmen, trappers, a newspaper editor, a demented ex-army captain, a teenager, an overweight Englishman, all led by a one-armed botany professor and ex-army major. Only a few know how to row!

One hundred days later, six half-starved men in two boats emerge at a Mormon camp in Nevada. They have experienced rapids, falls, fire, flood, fights, attempted murder, near drownings, and ambush by hostile Indians, all amid vistas of surpassing beauty. In the course of the journey they must not only struggle with the awesome power of the river, but each man must make an internal journey that changes him forever.

Ardian Gill's fictional re-creation of the conquest of the last great unknown territory in the United States is a first person account in the voice of one of the crew, based on the letters and diaries of the men who survived and those who didn't to "put the reader in the boats, on the water, in the squalid camps."

In the words of one reviewer, "Read this novel for the adventure, for the character studies, and for the satisfaction of how ordinary men can uplift us by their determination and physical courage."