American Meteor

208 pages

Trade Paper

List Price US $16.99
ISBN: 9781934137949


ISBN: 9781934137956

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“Sheds brilliant light along the meteoric path of American westward expansion. . . . [A] pithy, compact beautifully conducted version of the American Dream, from its portrait of the young wounded soldier in the beginning to its powerful rendering of Crazy Horse’s prophecy for life on earth at the end.”


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“[Walt Whitman] hovers over [American Meteor], just as Mark Twain’s spirit pervaded The Boy in His Winter. . . . Like all Mr. Lock’s books, this is an ambitious work, where ideas crowd together on the page like desperate men on a battlefield.”

Wall Street Journal

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“A tall tale, with a fascinating mix of historical facts and sound teachings. . . . [American Meteor] includes history, fiction, comedy and elegy and challenges the reader to examine the American story and to search for not what is true, but for what is truth.”


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“For a young country, the United States has had a violent and complicated history, one that is brilliantly brought to life by Norman Lock’s American Meteor. An enthralling coming-of-age story that also follows the tale of Manifest Destiny, American Meteor makes history as interesting as the year’s biggest blockbusters.”


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“As the railroad spread across the United States, it became part of the mythology of the American West. So too did photographs of the landscapes, documented by a number of renowned photographers. The protagonist of Norman Lock’s American Meteor, a young man seeking his fortune, comes into contact with both of these strands of the West—but where they lead him is anywhere but familiar.”


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“[American Meteor] feels like a campfire story, an old-fashioned yarn full of rich historical detail about hard-earned lessons and learning to do right.”

Publishers Weekly (“Pick of the Week” starred review)

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American Meteor is, at its core, a spiritual treatise that forces its readers to examine their own role in history’s unceasing march forward [and] casts new and lyrical light on our nation’s violent past.”

Shelf Awareness for Readers (starred review)

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“Memorably encompasses grand themes and notions of transcendence without ever losing sight of the grit and moral horrors present in the period.”

Kirkus Reviews

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“Rather like Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. . . . [Lock] writes beautifully, with many subtle, complex insights.”


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“Successfully blends beautiful language reminiscent of 19th-century prose with cynicism and bald, ugly truth.”

Library Journal

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“[American Meteor] is not only a history lesson but also a reading pleasure.”

Historical Novels Review

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“Like the western sky, American Meteor stretches to the horizon in all directions. . . . A lovely panorama to behold.”

New York Journal of Books

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“Lovely, burnished prose.”

Small Press Book Review

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American Meteor is at its heart a frontier yarn of adventure and discovery, insight and yearning [for] readers who savor the well-turned phrase and those who demand a little swash with their buckle.”

Four Corners Free Press

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American Meteor is a fascinating, prophetic contribution to recent historical fiction, and Lock is plainly an author well worth our attention.”


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“In one slender book, Norman Lock has made use of all the tools in the historical fiction writer’s arsenal, telling a sweeping story of the American West.”

Best New Fiction

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“Lock creates a memorable character who sees it all while providing a shimmering eulogy for the loss of one America in order to create another.”

Bluegrass, Books, and Brainstorms

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“An adventure tale that practically bleeds Americana. . . . For fans of Little Big Man, this might be the book you didn’t know you were waiting for.”


In this panoramic tale of Manifest Destiny—the second stand-alone book in The American Novels series—Stephen Moran comes of age with the young country that he crosses on the Union Pacific, just as the railroad unites the continent. Propelled westward from his Brooklyn neighborhood and the killing fields of the Civil War to the Battle of Little Big Horn, he befriends Walt Whitman, receives a medal from General Grant, becomes a bugler on President Lincoln’s funeral train, goes to work for railroad mogul Thomas Durant, apprentices with frontier photographer William Henry Jackson, and stalks General George Custer. When he comes face-to-face with Crazy Horse, his life will be spared but his dreams haunted for the rest of his days.

By turns elegiac and comic, American Meteor is a novel of adventure, ideas, and mourning: a unique vision of America’s fabulous and murderous history.

Firecracker Award Finalist

Publishers Weekly “Best Book of the Year” selection

InsideHook “Best Contemporary Western Novels” selection

Bustle “11 Books to Read if You Hope The Revenant Wins [an Oscar]” selection

LitReactor “8 Raw Westerns to Read” selection

Library Journal “BookExpo America Book That Buzzed” selection

Excerpt from American Meteor