The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper
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Young frontiersman Natty Bumppo, known as "Deerslayer" for his daring feats in the wilderness, has yet to experience that which is most dangerous: man. Set against the backdrop of the years leading up to the French & Indian War, Bumppo must find out what it takes to not only preserve his own life, but save the lives of others—even those who may not deserve it. What will it cost him to refine the fire of courage in his heart, and transmute a moral code into his very sense of self?
Chronologically speaking, The Deerslayer is the first book in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales, even though it was the final book in the series to be published. D. H. Lawrence called it "one of the most beautiful and perfect books in the world: flawless as a jewel and of gem-like concentration."