Critics have called David Lavender a "master storyteller" (Library Journal), his prose "virile, disciplined, yet personal" (New York Times), and his book "a balanced, learned, and lively history of an epochal human exploit" (Choice). Lavender sets the stage with a lucid account of the imperial rivalries between England, Spain, France, and the United States, and their role in Thomas Jefferson's decision to sponsor an expedition that might strengthen the young country's claims to lands it had purchased but never seen. Lavender then takes us through the steps that led to the selection of Meriwether Lewis and the Corps of Discovery's leader with William Clark as coleader. From there, the great adventure story unfolds and we follow Lewis and Clark and their company on their journey through vast, uncharted territory as they seek a transcontinental route to the Pacific. From its inception to its conclusion-a triumph made bittersweet by Lewis's suicide only a few years later-we witness the trials, the surprises, the natural wonders, and the successes large and small that the expedition met with day by day over the course of two years and thousands of miles. The result is a true classic of adventure writing and a marvel of historical storytelling.