The Undaunted: The Miracle of the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers (Paperback)
But they had no other choice.
At the call of their prophet, they left well-established farms and businesses to strike out yet again into the untamed wilderness. A small band of men, women, and children formed the 1879 pioneer company.
Their mission: stand as a buffer between lawlessness and civilization.
Their road: only what they created themselves, blasting out a perilous trail over slick rock and through desolate cliffs.
Their hearts: UNDAUNTED.
When it comes to creating spellbinding historical fiction, nobody does it quite like Gerald N. Lund. In The Undaunted, he transports readers first to the coal mines of Yorkshire, then across the ocean and the plains to the territory of Utah, where, even in 1879, there is pioneering to be done.
A little-known and perhaps even less-appreciated chapter in the Church's history comes to life in this gripping story of a stalwart group of Saints called to create a settlement to serve as a buffer between the established communities of Utah and the lawless frontier of the Four Corners area. Their challenge will be enormous - but the biggest part of it just may be getting there in the first place.
Skillfully interweaving historical figures and events with fictional characters, Gerald Lund takes us through the Hole in the Rock and over miles of uncharted country that even today is impassable without all-terrain vehicles. His account of the adventure, romance, and sacrifices of these undaunted pioneers will resonate with readers who love a good story as well as those who want to better understand the incomparable legacy and unconquerable faith of those valiant Saints.To find out more about this book, including a Traveler's Guide for the trail today, visit undaunted-thenovel.com
- Pages: 816
- Published: August 2009
About the Author
Elder Gerald N. Lund received his B.A. and M.S. degrees in sociology from Brigham Young University. He also did extensive graduate work in New Testament studies at Pepperdine University in Los Angeles, California, and studies Hebrew at the University of Judaism in Hollywood, California.
During his thirty-five years in the Church Educational System, the author served as a seminary teacher, an institute teacher and director, a curriculum writer, director of college curriculum, and zone administrator. His Church callings have included serving as stake president, bishop, and teacher. Elder Lund served as a member of the Second Quorum of the Seventy from 2002 to 2008.
Elder Lund is a prolific author; his novels include the Work and the Glory series, the Kingdom and the Crown trilogy, Fire of the Covenant, and The Undaunted. He has also written several books on gospel topics, including Hearing the Voice of the Lord and Divine Signatures.
He and his wife, Lynn, are the parents of seven children. For more information, please visit Gerald Lund’s website (Click Here)
Friday, June 13, 1862
David Dickinson’s eyes were wide open. He was staring up at the single window in their one-room tenement flat, willing the light outside to grow brighter. He raised up on one elbow and peered across the darkened room to where a blanket hung from a rope, separating his parents’ sleeping room from the main room. Did he dare just rush in and wake them?
He sighed, falling back on the pillow. He had not been allowed to enter their sleeping room when the blanket was drawn since he was three, and—his head came up with a jerk.
“Annie?” It was his father’s voice, spoken in a bare whisper.
“I’m awake,” his mother whispered back.
There was a rustle of straw and the squeak of rope as someone got out of bed. More rustling, this time of clothing. David lay back and squeezed his eyes shut, heart thumping just a little.
“Is he . . . ?” His mother’s voice still sounded sleepy.
“Naw. ’E still be sleepin’. But Ah moost be goin’ soon.”-1
David cracked an eye open when he heard her bare feet hit the floor, then a whisper of sound as she put on a housecoat. A moment later, the blanket separating their sleeping room from the rest of the flat pulled back, and John Dickinson appeared, pulling up the suspenders on his trousers. David closed his eye again as his father tiptoed across the room and lit a candle.
Softer footsteps moved toward him across the floor. “David?”
He stirred and mumbled something unintelligible.
“Happy birthday, David,” his mother said softly, laying a hand gently on his shoulder.
“What?” He stretched, then feigned a huge yawn.
But she knew him too well. “You cahn’t fool me, young man.” It was her finest London accent. Her hand shot out and found that spot beneath his armpit that she had discovered years before. In an instant he was writhing on the bed, screeching with laughter.
“’Appy bur’day, Laddee,” his father said, coming back to stand beside his wife. As David sat up, his father bent down and pulled him close. David felt the scratch of thick stubble and smelled the coal dust and candle smoke on his shirt.
“Tank ya, Dah.”
Over his father’s shoulder, he saw his mother frown. “Thank you, Dahdee,” he corrected himself quickly.
Anne Dickinson was slender and looked pale in the candlelight. The bone structure in her face was fine, almost fragile, and her skin was like the finest of Spode porcelain. She had blue-green eyes and soft, golden brown hair that fell to her shoulders. Her mouth was small and her lips pale, so when she frowned, it was like a shadow drifting across a sunlit meadow. But when she smiled, as she did once again now, it filled her eyes. She was so beautiful, David wanted to reach out and touch her face.
“Ya be most welcum, Son,” his father said, ignoring the brief interchange. He gave him another squeeze, then pulled back and stood, smiling down on him. “Noow then, Davee lad. This be yur sixth bur’day. So yur Mum an’ me, we ’ave a wee sooprize fur ya.”
“Yur muther be tekin’ ya ta Barnslee Town t’day.”
David leaped to his knees. “Barnslee? Trulee, Dah?” He turned to his mother, hardly daring to believe. “Ah’ve never bin ta Barnslee in me ’ole life.”
She sighed, wondering if he would ever be able to get past his Yorkshire accent, but decided to let it pass. His excitement was infectious. “You’ve actually been there two or three times,” she said, “but only when you were a wee boy.”
Reaching in his pocket, his father withdrew three coins. David peered in disbelief. Each coin was a tuppence, a two-pence piece. That made—he calculated quickly—sixpence.
“’Ere be a little sumthin’ ta ’elp ya celebrate. Maybe yur Mum be tekin’ ya ta the sweet shop.” He winked. “Let ya buy sumthin’ ta give ya a real bellyache.”
“It be joost fur me, Dah?”
“Indeed. Ya can pick oot whate’er ya lek. Whaddya think of that, eh?”
“Oh, Dahdee!” His eyes were round and dancing with excitement. “Thare be nowt bettur in the ’ole wurld than that.”
His mother sighed. “Not nowt, David. Nothing. Say it properly.”
“Thare—” He stopped at her look, took a deep breath, and tried again, speaking more slowly now. “There be nothing better in the ’ole wurld than goin’ to Barnslee Town.”
She bent down and kissed the top of his head. “Very good.”
His father winked at him again. “Yur Mum, she be one fine woman from down near London Town, Davee boy. She teach ya ’ow ta spek joost reet. Use the Queen’s English reet proper.”
“I hardly speak the Queen’s English,” she demurred.
He went right on. “She naw murdur the muther tunge lek this old Tyke.”*
She started to protest, but he raised a hand, cutting her off. “Thare be no ’ope fur me, Davee boy.” Now he was actually exaggerating his accent. “The way Ah spek be burned inta me bones. But ya, Davee, if ya listen well, yur muther she mek ya inta one fine laddee. Reet, Annie?”
Her smile was filled with love as she leaned over and briefly touched his hand. “Reet, John.”
She turned again to her son, combing her fingers through the curls of his dark hair. “Ah, David,” she said, her voice warm with love, “you’re going to be as handsome as your father.”
“Aw, gwan!” her husband said.
“No, look at you, John Dickinson, with your brown eyes and dark, wavy hair—and that smile that can charm a pig up into a tree. No wonder this wee lass went weak in the knees that day you first came in the company store.”
David was watching this exchange happily. He ran over to the tiny mirror that hung over the kitchen sink and studied himself quickly. “Do you really think I’ll look like Dah, Mum?”
She moved beside him. “Look at that jawline—firm and square, just like your father’s. And you’ve got his brown eyes.” She smiled at him in the mirror. “I love your eyes, David. When you smile, the laughter ripples up into them as well. Your hair is a little lighter, but thankfully, you got a bit of your father’s waviness. Mine be straight as a stick.” She bent down and kissed the back of his head. “Aye, you’re going to be a handsome one indeed.”
“Aw, gwan,” he said, blushing, and sounding exactly like his father.
“Ah think ya be taller than me eventually,” his father said, moving up beside them.
“Really?” David exclaimed. At five foot seven—just a couple of inches taller than his wife—John Dickinson was one of the shorter men working the Cawthorne Pit, and David worried that he would be like that too.
“I think so too, John,” Anne said. “The way he be eating lately, I keep expecting him to sprout ears and turn into a mule.” Smiling, she turned away. “Get dressed, David. Your father needs his breakfast. We’ll leave right after he does so we can have the whole day together. Maybe there will even be time to trek down to the canal and watch them load the coal into the boats.”
His arm shot high in the air. “Yah!”
Eyes warm with affection, Anne rumpled his hair once more. “Go on, now. Get yourself dressed, then out to the loo with you. Be sure you put on some shoes.”
She moved to the table but continued to watch him out of the corner of her eye. He gave her an awkward glance, turned his back to her, then slid off his nightshirt. Now she watched him openly, feeling a sadness come upon her all of a sudden.
The baby chubbiness was completely gone. His vertebrae were visible along the center of his back, and when he reached for his trousers, she could also see his ribs. He was still a little boy to her, but once he started in the mines, his body would become as hard and muscular as her husband’s. She turned away, not wanting to embarrass him further.
Finished, he gave her a little wave as he went out the door.
She sighed, not wanting to think either about him growing up or about his starting in the mines.
Her husband was gathering his things so he could leave as soon as breakfast was done. Anne moved to a shelf and took down a tin box about six inches square. “Here’s your snap, John.” She placed it in the pack he would carry over his shoulder into the mine. The packed lunch didn’t get its name from the meager fare—two boiled eggs, half a loaf of bread, a chunk of cheese and two small pasties,* but from the way the tin lid snapped when it was closed. “John?”
“Yah, luv.” His mind was clearly elsewhere.
“I’m sorry for always trying to correct David. I don’t want to make you feel bad. I love the way you speak—” She smiled. “Or spek. ’Tis just that I want David to—”
“Ah know, Annie, luv, Ah know. An’ Ah dunna mind at awl.”
“And do you mind that I am teaching him to read and write?”
He turned in surprise. “Ah think it be grahnd what yur doin’.”
“I don’t know that much, but . . .” She let it trail off.
He forced a smile. “Annie, Ah know what ya be tryin’ ta do, an’ Ah think that it be gud.” How did he say what needed to be said? He was of the sixth generation of coal miners in his family. His wife had not been born in Yorkshire and so she found the life and traditions of the mining community difficult to embrace. Thirteen years had softened her to the point where she accepted the hard realities of their lives, but she would never fully embrace them.
John Dickinson loved his wife, totally and without reservation. He never criticized her, not to her face, not behind her back. He knew, as surely as he knew how to bring down a block of coal from the coal face, that she was the best thing that had ever happened to him.
With a start, he realized she was watching him, waiting. “Ah joost wurry a bit,” he admitted.
“We be minin’ folk, Annie. Naw amoont of fancy talk gunna be changin’ that.” He rushed on before she could interrupt. “Ah’m not askin’ ya ta stop, mind ya. Joost tek care that ya dunna fill ’is mind with dreams that cahrn’t be. That’s awl Ah be sayin’, Annie.”
For a moment she wanted to flare out at him, grab his shoulders and shake him until he understood. But he was right. These were grand dreams she was having. Bloomin’ madness, some were saying. “Have you listened to him read lately, John?”
“Naw. Naw fur a bit.”
“I’m no teacher, John. I barely learned to read myself before—” She shook her head, not wanting to go where that thought would take her. “But he is so quick, John. He’s already reading better than me. And he knows his numbers, too.”
He was nodding, but she couldn’t tell if that was just John, never wanting to hurt her, or if he really agreed. “John, I do not know how long I shall be here with you.” One hand came up quickly. “No, John. I hope I’m wrong. But I fear that there were just too many years in the match factory, breathing in that white phosphorus dust.”2
One hand stole up unnoticed and began to gently massage her jaw, the jaw that now gave her pain every time she ate, though she had not told John that yet. “The doctor says I’ve got a few years yet, but ’tis not likely I’ll be here to see him become a man. And we have to get our heads ’round that. It will be you who is left to raise our son.”
“Annie, please . . .”
“I want something more for David, John. We lost our little Annie at birth. Another gift from the match factory, I’m sure. And I couldn’t carry any of those other babies for more than two or three months. But David was a fighter. He survived, and he’s all we’ve got. Helping him to learn to speak proper and to read and write—’tis the only way I know how to help him.”
He turned and took her in his arms. “Annie?”
“Ah spek wit Mr. Rhodes, yes’day.”
Her eyes widened for a moment, then she quickly pulled away.
“Ah tole ’im that Davee be six t’day, an’—”
She put her fingers to his lips. “Dunna say it,” she said softly, perfectly imitating his Yorkshire drawl. “I know it moost be, John, but dunna say it. Naw t’day. Please.”
But it had to be said. “Thare be a place for a trapper in Shaft Three. That’s me pit, Annie. At least, ’e will be close by so Ah can watch ’im.”
She didn’t answer. “It be five pence a day,” he added softly. “Five p! We need it to buy more med’cine.” A long pause, then fervently, “Ah will naw lose ya, Annie. Ah will naw!”
She was close to tears. “How soon?”
“T’day be Freeday. Rhodes wants ’im ta start t’morrow, but I tole ’im Munday.”
Her head dropped. It was like there was a great stone in her stomach. Then something fierce flared up inside her. “I know it must be so,” she said, “but promise me one thing, John.”
His eyes were bleak, but he managed a smile. “Whate’er ya ask of me, luv. Ya know that.”
“Promise me that you will get him out of the mines. Not now. But sometime. Promise that you’ll take us to America, John.”
“Aw, Annie.” His voice was filled with pain. “America? Thare be naw way. The passage alone be twenty poonds or more.”
“Actually, steerage class is only fifteen pounds. But we need extra for the food. The crossing takes about three months, and the ticket includes only one meal a day.” She had been investigating this for some time. “So we need money for that, too.” Her eyes were suddenly angry. “Ridiculous! It costs less to go to America than to give us a proper burial here.”3
He wasn’t going to be drawn in with any of that. “We barely be scrapin’ by noow, Annie. Thare joost be naw way. It be only a dream.”
Her fingers dug into his arm. “No, John! It is our only hope for him. Promise me.”
“Aw . . .” He shook his head. “Most trappers be startin’ at age five, Annie. Davee awreddy be a year be’ind. Ah started the day after me fifth bur’day.”
“And the Colliers Act of Eighteen Forty-Two says that no child under ten shall be employed in the mines,” she shot back, eyes blazing.
There was a short, bitter laugh. “Parl’ment be passing laws lek that joost ta mek rich folks feel better aboot ’ow they treat us poor lugs. The mine owners pay the law naw mind, cuz they know Parl’ment pay it naw mind. Naw up ’ere in Yorkshire, they dunna.”
She wanted to scream. Not at him, but at life. No, at him, too. Because he was right. He was always so infuriatingly right. Which allowed no room for hope, or dreams, or . . .
He started to turn away, but she grabbed his arm and pulled him back around. “John, I will agree to let David start work on Monday on one condition.”
“Hear me well, John Dickinson.” Her eyes were implacable. “Promise me this, or else I’ll keep him home. I’ll teach him to be a clerk or a teamster or something.”
He sighed. When she was like this, there was no moving her. For someone so gentle, so fragile, sometimes she was more rock than cotton. “What it be that ya want me ta do?”
“I will agree to him becoming a trapper, then a hurrier and a spragger or whatever all the jobs are, and even eventually a miner, if you promise me—you must swear it!—that every penny, every shilling he ever makes, will go into the box.”
“Wha’?” he cried. “We need that fur yur med’cine, luv.”
“No, John. Every shilling, or he stays home.”
He looked stricken. Why did she think his family had been miners for six generations? Because there was no way out of the mines. None! But he finally nodded. “Ah mek ya that promise, Annie. Ya ’ave me wurd on it.” He blew out his breath. “Ya ’ave me wurd.”
She went up on tiptoes and kissed him on the cheek. “Would it surprise you, John, to know that I have already saved about twenty pounds?”
“I have. I started right after David was born. It’s in a shoe box under the floorboards.”
He could only stare at her. What kind of dream fired that level of determination?
But it was still just that—a dream. “It tek ten more years ta save e’nuff ta git us awl thare. Davee be sixteen by then.”
“And how old will he be in ten years if we don’t save our money?” she snapped back at him. “I don’t want David to know anything about this. Or anyone else. But you must promise me.”
Hearing David’s footsteps on the stairs outside, she gave him a quick smile. “Come right home tonight, John. We’ll be having Yorkshire pudding and growler -4 for supper.”
“We dunna ’ave muney fur growler, Annie.”
“’Tis your son’s birthday, John,” she cried. “And Monday, he goes into the mines. We will be having Yorkshire pudding and growler for supper.”
Cawthorne was a “pit town.”5 Located about midway between Leeds and Sheffield and three miles west of Barnsley, it was one of dozens of villages that helped sustain the vast coal-mining industry in South Yorkshire. Major seams of coal ran for miles through the area. Sometimes these seams were close enough to the surface to outcrop. Other places they dove hundreds of feet underground. Sheffield, one of the great mill towns in all of England, was just a dozen miles to the south, so Cawthorne was in the heart of one of the richest coalfields in the British sles.
Cawthorne was home to about a hundred and fifty families, all of them mining families. All the businesses in own—he Cawthorne Dry Goods Store, the greengrocer, a butcher shop, and the Cold Thorne ub—ere owned by Cawthorne Coal Company, as were all of the row houses. Since rent and all transactions in the village used company scrip, the mine owners kept the prices inflated and the miners in perpetual debt, and therefore in perpetual servitude.
The row houses ran the full length of the single street in Cawthorne. They were joined together in one continuous structure, facing each other like wooden specters having a stare-down. They were dingy, dilapidated, and long ago blackened by soot and coal dust. Each flat or apartment was a single room no more than fifteen feet wide and twenty-five deep. A sleeping area for the parents was partitioned off by a rope and a blanket. Everything else took place in the main room. There was no inside loo, or toilet, only a basin for washing dishes. A large bucket for bringing water from the town pump and a galvanized washtub served as the rest of their “indoor plumbing.” The tub was used both for laundry and for bathing, though it was barely big enough to hold David’s father, and only if he folded his legs up into an impossible position.
Miners bathed each night to cleanse themselves of the coal dust. The rest of the family bathed only on Saturday night. David hated that, because they all used the same water, and he was always last. Not only was the water mostly cold by then, especially in wintertime, but it was gritty from the coal dust left by his father. In large families, the water would actually get so black that you could lose a baby in it. His mother told him that this was the origin of the old saying, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”
For the families’ other personal needs, the company had built forty outhouses behind the tenements—twenty on the north, twenty on the south. Forty outhouses for almost four hundred people. And for all of this, each family was charged one-third of their monthly earnings as rent. The soot, the coal dust, the stench, and the raw sewage came at no extra charge.
“Hurry, Mum.” David was out ahead of her, running forward, eager to be clear of Cawthorne and out into the countryside.
She smiled. How she envied his irrepressible zest for life. “I’m coming,” she called.
“Hurry. Barnslee be waitin’ for us.”
1. For reasons that will become apparent as the novel proceeds, I decided to have the lead characters come from a coal-mining town in Yorkshire, England. This created an immediate dilemma. How to deal with the Yorkshire accent?
The peoples of the British Isles have an astonishing variety of accents, as my wife and I learned during our three-year stay there. Yorkshireans are not only part of that diversity but have an accent quite distinct. One day my wife and I were in the city of York, which is in the northeast of England, to do some family history research. By then, we had become pretty good at attuning our Yankee ears to local speech. But this day, when I asked for some information from one of the clerks (or clarks, as the Brits say), the woman gave me a lengthy and detailed response. And neither my wife nor I understood more than a word or two of what she said.
Therein is the dilemma. To have at least some authenticity, I felt I had to reflect the Yorkshire accent to some degree. But if it were too authentic, I was afraid readers would find it tedious and difficult to read. Clearly, there had to be a compromise. Here, in brief, are some of the compromises I chose to make:
—The formal thee, thou, and thy were used in Yorkshire in the 1800s. However, these were pronounced as thah, thi, and tha. These are used so frequently in conversation that they quickly became a serious distraction, so I went with the more recognizable ya and yur.
—When a letter is dropped out of a word, it is customary for an apostrophe to be inserted in its place, as in can’t or hasn’t. But in Yorkshire, they drop letters everywhere. The initial h on most words is silent. The becomes just a t’ and is frequently tacked onto the word it modifies (for example, I’ll meet ya at t’pub). With becomes w’ and of becomes o’. Consonants at the end of words—such as in ing words—are often dropped. The dialogue became so peppered with apostrophes that it was downright annoying. For example, here is a sentence expressed as a person from Yorkshire might say it: ’E kissed ’is wife g’bye, lef’ t’house w’ ’is bes’ mate who is o’ Barnslee Town, an’ walked t’ t’mine t’gether.”
—Couple those two things with their unique pronunciations, and even the simplest phrase becomes a mystery. For example, “Ge’ i’ e’en,” does not easily translate into “Get it eaten.” So I often put in more recognizable spellings to make it easier for the eader.
For these compromises, I apologize in advance to the friends and associates from Yorkshire my wife and I made while in England. I regret my inability to do justice to your rich and delightful way of speaking. My only excuse for even attempting to do so is that my great-grandfather’s ancestors came from Heptonstall in West Yorkshire, which is just twenty-five miles west of where this novel begins. So it is possible that I have a genetic bias for the “muther tunge.”
2. The East End of London in the latter part of the nineteenth century had several large match factories. Here is an example of the incredibly deplorable working conditions for children and women in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century England. Women and girls worked six days a week, fourteen hours a day in the match factories and were paid five shillings a week.
Though it had been banned in the United States and Sweden, Parliament refused to outlaw white phosphorus in England because it would be “a restraint of free trade.” The white phosphorus vapors caused a yellowing of the skin, hair loss, and a form of bone cancer known as “phossy-jaw.” It often led to a horribly painful death (see “Matchgirls Strike,” http://web311.pavilion.net/TUmatchgirls.htm).
3. This observation was made by two missionaries from the U.S. about British taxation: “[There are] taxes of every kind, . . . for smoke must not go out of the chimney in England without a tax. Light must not come in at the windows without paying duties. . . . There are taxes for living & taxes for dying, insomuch that it is very difficult for the poor to get buried any how, & a man may emigrate to America & find a grave, for less money, than he can get a decent burial for in Old England. We scarce recollect an article without tax except cats, mice & fleas” (in Allen, Esplin, and Whittaker, Men with a Mission, 10–12).
4. Yorkshire pudding is even today a staple of the British diet, especially for the Sunday meal. It is not a pudding in the American sense of the word, but an unsweetened, bowl-shaped pastry usually served with brown gravy. Tradition has it that it was first developed in Yorkshire among the very poor because it was an inexpensive way to fill children’s stomachs when meat and other staples were beyond a family’s means (see Random House Dictionary, s.v. “Yorkshire pudding”). At this time in Yorkshire, a “growler” was a small pork pie.
5. Cawthorne and Barnsley are both existing towns in South Yorkshire. Barnsley is a large city, Cawthorne a village of fewer than three hundred people. Specific descriptions of Cawthorne and Pit Number Three are fictional.
This Book Will Inspire You!
by Randy - reviewed on November 05, 2009
I have had the great opportunity to take several youth on many treks along the Hole-N-The-Rock trail. Although because of this I have studied the history of these valiant Saints in great detail - I have been enriched by the story the is woven in this book. I lived in the region for many years and explored a great deal of this historic trail I was able to see it through the authors eyes. The author has the rugged journey and the faith required to complete it - nailed down tight. You will enjoy reading this book. You will experience the journey. I also believe that after you read this book you will want to get in a 4-wheel Drive and see this fantastic trail for yourself. My compliments to Brother Lund. Randy C. Dalton
by charleen - reviewed on February 02, 2011
I am always amazed at such sacrifice and the intestinal fortitude it took for our pioneers to travel so far and go through so much. They had to have known something that stretched the length and breadth of their souls to endure so much and to have kept going. Unfortunately, it was a hard book for me to pick up at first because it reminded me of my daughter. This book came out not long after we lost a child. Our child was given a special award in school called "The Miss dauntless" award. She was known for never giving up too. Definatly a worthwhile read. Brother Lund, you've done it again.
Shallow and unfullfilling
by Rich - reviewed on January 31, 2010
As a history and church history book, I found this novel to be about 20% history and 80% insipid fiction. I read and enjoyed the Work and the Glory. If one wants to read about the Hole in the Rock journey, you need to plow through nearly 600 pages of pretty lame, G rated soap opera story line before you get there (not that I am lobbying for less purity). The romance created almost no suspense for me, I knew which girl he would get from their first meeting. What put me off the most was Brother Lund's use of historical anachronisms, and making up entire discourses for general authority where he admits he had no historical basis for doing so. I grew very tired of this book about half way through and continued to read it only because it was a Christmas gift. Having finished, I am looking forward to starting something much more fulfilling.
by Roberta - reviewed on November 02, 2009
800 pages seemed daunting but it is wonderfully written & most interesting. I read a few chapters at a time & enjoyed a little bit each day. A great story of hardship, triumph, struggles, and achievement. It is amazing what conditions people endured during those times & what things they overcame & accomplished. This story is helpful in putting the times & events into perspective so to better understand how it happened & the way the Lord refines his people & how he blesses them. Would love a road-trip to the Hole in the Rock to see where it all took place.
Can't put it down
by Grant - reviewed on September 14, 2009
I've read Brother Lund's previous books (Work and the Glory series, Fire of the Covenant and Kingdom and the Crown series) so had a fair idea what to expect. Have not been disappointed (apart from not being able to catch up with what has happened to my old friends the Steed family since they arrived in Salt Lake) I always find these books draw me in and I feel like the main characters become personal friends; at the end there is a sense of loss as I part company with them. One major difference in this case is that the previous books have all covered stories I have been quite familiar with. As an LDS from Australia, the key church history stories have been with me through Primary, Seminary and throughout my life. The Hole in the rock expedition, on the other hand, I had never previously heard of. For church members away from a direct connection with the places and people who feature in this and similar stories, it probably gets absorbed into that time period when the church became established in Salt Lake, settlements were established in outlying areas and missionares sent throughout the world. Now I have an overwhelming desire to travel to Utah and explore some of the places described, see for myself some of these impossible locations they managed to negotiate. Hardy people indeed.
by Joyce - reviewed on January 12, 2010
I am a great fan of Gerlald Lund. This book was just as beautifully written as his others. I appreciated learning more about the Hole-in-the-Rock Pioneers, their hardships and their triumphs. Thank you Brother Lund for helping us to understand better, appreciate and love even more our pioneer ancestors.
A book that will help you feel what it was like to have been there.
by Joseph - reviewed on July 07, 2010
Lund spent 10 years researching the Hole in the Rock expedition to be able to write this book and it shows. The back story that he gives to his characters allows you to step into their shoes and be there with the pioneers as they make their incredible journey. I laughed and cried with them as I felt their pains and joys as I traveled with them on their journey.
Gerald Lund just gets better!
by Katie - reviewed on December 03, 2009
I absolutely LOVE The Undaunted. It is a fascinating storyline, and is told at such a unique angle. It is a first of its time because it follows the life of immigrants who left England and came to Utah years after the first pioneers. From start to finish, the book is full of surprises and suspense. Even with 800 pages, I just can't get enough!
I looked forward to reading each day.
by Roxanne - reviewed on March 18, 2010
I loved this book! I looked forward to reading each day on my lunch hour and missed it on the days that I didn't get to read. I laughed. I cried. I connected in a way that I hadn't in some time. I would recommend this anyone! Will read it again!
Another awesome Gerald Lund Church History novel!
by NETTA - reviewed on August 07, 2009
Received my copy of Undaunted July 31st started reading it that night & couldn't put it down. I was born & raised in San Juan County Utah. I know many people whose descendants were in the Hole In the Rock expedition. I've read many of the books available on the subject. Gerald Lund will have you live the experience with his characters as he did with The Work & the Glory. I love the way he gives you the facts and explains the difference between the facts and his fiction. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn the truth about the Hole in the Rock pioneers in a very intriguing way with Gerald Lund the master story teller! Netta McDonald
Excrutiating, Compelling, Inspiring
by Adam - reviewed on August 14, 2009
I may be a bit biased. I am a great great grandson of Platte D Lyman, who was one of the leaders of the San Juan Mission, and a great grandson of Hanson Bayles, who was a member of the first expedition, and Evelyn Lyman, who traveled the Hole in the Rock road in late 1880. I knew the story before I read the book, but upon hearing that Brother Lund's book had been published I couldn't keep myself from picking up a copy... couldn't keep myself from devouring it either. Anyone who has read Gerald Lund's other work will know his style. He fits fictional characters into the narrative of history in a particularly effective way and The Undaunted is no exception to that formula. In this story, however, he also sets out to correct the sentiment of many historians and others familiar with the San Juan Mission who consider it to have been a failure at worst and a mistake at best. In truth, the Hole in the Rock pioneers were called of God to establish new settlements in an untamed, dangerous and lawless area. They accepted that call for what it was and clawed and fought their way through to magnify it. Though the Four Corners area has not blossomed into a major population center in the intervening 130 years the saints have remained firmly and fiercely entrenched. They now even have a temple to show for their dedication, tenacity and faith. Beyond even that, those few hundred courageous pioneers have inspired thousands upon thousands of descendants and admirers to face their own treacherous trails through life. Now Brother Lund has made their story available in a more personal way than ever before and I hope that it will be able to touch many, many thousands more.
by Anthony - reviewed on September 17, 2010
What an inspired novel from one of the great authors of our time. Gerald Lund has done it again with his skill for interweaving history and fiction into something that captivates and holds a reader's attention to the very end. This book is a must for anyone who enjoyed the Work and the Glory series or for anyone interested in reading about our pioneer ancestors.
by Curtis - reviewed on August 09, 2010
This is the biggest book I've read and I really enjoyed it. I didn't want to put it down it was really a good story.
by Tim - reviewed on November 09, 2009
I am incarnated by this book i just couldn't put it down and through this four weeks of reading it (and yes that is actual time) i am so exited to read more of these and this brothers writing and see were this spiritual task will take me
Read it you will LOVE it!
by Customer - reviewed on December 13, 2009
I love all of his books and was so excited for this one to come out. I did not know anything about the Hole in the Rock until I read this book. Read it you will LOVE it!
Read it with someone! You'll enjoy it more!
by Customer - reviewed on January 04, 2010
My wife and I read it together and we absolutely loved it. It seamed every minute we had together we found time for this book.
Amazing people, amazing story, very inspirational!
by Melinda - reviewed on January 20, 2011
I feel changed for experiencing this audio book. The narrator has a fantastic feel for the characters and really brings them to life. I enjoyed the story, the characters and the history. Can't wait to explore this area myself.
This is one book you won't be able to put down.
by Natalie - reviewed on March 13, 2011
Gerald N. Lund once again, pulls the reader into a story where you feel as if you are actually standing side by side with the characters from his novel, The Undaunted. He has an ability to mix historical figures with fiction and captures the interest of the reader fight from the beginning. This story is about a group of Mormon saints called to travel across a barren, unsettled wilderness in order to serve as a buffer between civilization and lawlessness. The group will travel from Escalante, Utah to Montezuma Creek, Arizona and face many challenges along the way from encounters with hostile Indians, to making roads where it seemed impossible to do. This novel will give those who read it great details on this groups journey and tell of the courage and faith of those who were a part of the Expedition of, The-Hole-In-The-Rock.