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Independent Press Award

2024 Distinguished Favorite

The Powell Expeditions

Tim Piper

When seventeen-year-old Jubilee Walker loses his mother in 1867, he has no idea that during the next two years he will be riding a wagon train across the plains, befriending a Pawnee scout, climbing mountains, and riding the raging rapids of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

When Jubil initially asks to join a scientific expedition led by Major John Wesley Powell, a family friend, Powell refuses, but Jubil’s persistence and resourcefulness eventually win him a place on Powell’s crew. Jubil’s plans for a life of adventure are complicated, however, by his deepening feelings for his best friend, Nelly Boswell, who is reluctant to spend her life with a man who insists on such a dangerous lifestyle.

How will Jubil navigate the hardships and lawlessness of the American West? And will he be forced to choose between a life of adventure and the girl he loves?

Jubil’s story draws on the real-life adventures of naturalist, college professor, and one-armed Civil War veteran Major John Wesley Powell during his Colorado River Exploring Expeditions. Powell became the first explorer to summit Longs Peak in the Colorado Rockies and navigate the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, fixing his place in history as one of America’s great explorers.

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