The story of the Martin and Willy handcart companies is well known to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons). In his book “In the Company of Angels” David Farland takes the reader on a journey as members of the Willy Handcart Company through the trials as they cross the planes in their trek to Zion. The story brings out a lot of emotion, from Anger at the way the saints were treated, to the fear of Indian attacks on the sorrow as family members are lost. Still there are lighter moments such as when Brother Cole meets his “dream girl” and Ephraim Hanks pulling a gun on a heavenly messenger.
In this book you become one of three members of the Willy Company, from Captain Willy himself, to a young Dane girl crossing on her own ahead of her parents to the only non-member in the company traveling with her member husband and children. You get to know them all personally. You cry when they lose friends and loved ones, and feel their relieve when the rescue party arrives.
In a story like this fact is interwoven with fiction. Though many things were recorded in journals no one really knows what interactions took place between members of the company, and exactly what happened when they encountered others along the journey. David Farland is left to use know facts from the time to fill in the voids. At the end of the book he explains how he took the facts and twisted them to fill in the daily lives of these people.
I recommend this book to anyone wanting to know more about what the early saints went through as the journeyed from their homes to Zion, in many cases giving up everything the owned and being forced to leave loved ones behind.