Paper pub. date
January 2004
ISBN 9780870710391 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 336 pages.


Don Berry

Winner of the Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel, Moontrap is a book of remarkable beauty and power about a man caught between his vivid past and an uncertain future.

The year is 1850, a transitional period in the new Oregon Territory, with settlers and lawmakers working to subdue the untamed region. Johnson Monday, a former mountain man, has been living on a bend of the Willamette River near Oregon City for seven years with his Shoshone Indian wife, struggling to make a place in settled society. One day, Webster T. Webster, a raucous, unrepentant trapper, arrives for an unexpected visit. With his earthy humor and stubborn adherence to the simple life, "Webb" leads Monday through adventures that flirt dangerously close to lawlessness, while helping him to rediscover his moral center. Through defiance, triumph, and tragedy, Moontrap follows Johnson Monday as he realizes that relinquishing the stark honesty of mountain life for the compromises of civilization may be too high a price to pay.

Following Trask in Don Berry's trilogy of novels set in the Oregon Territory, Moontrap offers a richly comic and intensely poignant portrayal of pioneer life.

About the author

Don Berry (1932–2001) considered himself a native Oregonian, despite the fact that he was born in Minnesota, with a lineage from Fox Indians. After attending Reed College, where his housemates included poet Gary Snyder, who shared his interest in Eastern metaphysics, Berry began a lifetime of pursuing his many passions: playing down-home blues and composing synthesizer music, sumi drawing and painting, sculpting in bronze, exploring theoretical mathematics, and writing for prize-winning films.

In addition to his three novels about the Oregon Territory (Trask, Moontrap, and To Build a Ship) published in the early 1960s, Berry wrote A Majority of Scoundrels, a history of the Rocky Mountain fur trade. An early Internet pioneer, he also created a remarkable body of literature that exists now only in cyberspace.

Read more about this author

"The whole book is rich with history glancingly told, vivid frontier lore, alive with the look and feel and smell of wilderness."

The New York Times Book Review

"It is somber, broodingly beautiful, and sometimes almost painfully compelling, with its mixture of rough horseplay, humor, lyric romance, and the harshest kinds of reality."

Saturday Review

"With Moontrap, Berry has firmly established himself as a skilled craftsman in blending character, adventure, and Northwest history. He ranks among the best of Western writers."

Washington Post

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