Cold Mountain is a 1997 historical novel by Charles Frazier which won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. It tells the story of W. P. Inman, a wounded deserter from the Confederate army near the end of the American Civil War who walks for months to return to Ada Monroe, the love of his life; the story shares several similarities with Homer's The Odyssey. The narrative alternates back and forth every chapter between the story of Inman and that of Ada Monroe, a minister's daughter recently relocated from Charleston to a farm in the rural mountain community called Cold Mountain from which Inman hails. Though they only knew each other for a brief time before Inman departed for the war, it is largely the hope of seeing Ada again that drives Inman to desert the army and make the dangerous journey back to Cold Mountain. Details of their brief history together are told at intervals in flashback over the course of the novel.
The novel, which was Charles Frazier's first, became a major best seller, selling roughly three million copies worldwide. It was adapted into an academy award-winning film of the same name in 2003.
Frazier has said that the real W. P. Inman was his great-great-uncle who lived near the real Cold Mountain, which is now within the Pisgah National Forest, Haywood County, North Carolina. Frazier also used Hendricks County, Indiana native John V. Hadley's book Seven Months a Prisoner as the inspiration for the novel.