Published in 2002, The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge was written by Michael Punke, a lawyer, western historian and, currently, U.S. ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
Punke was not involved in the creation of the film. In fact, as a Washington Post article reported in late December, 2015, he cannot even talk about it due to laws prohibiting federal employees from earning money on the side.[i]
I have purposefully stayed away from most news about the film, so I have no idea if I’m offering plot spoilers for the film in what follows. If I am, it’s done unknowingly. But I thought I’d offer five crucial things to know about the novel (for those who don’t have time to read it!), so you can measure what the film has done with its source material.