American Gods Wiki
American Gods Wiki

The boundaries of our country, sir? Why sir, onto the north we are bounded by the Aurora Borealis, on the east we are bounded by the rising sun, on the south we are bounded by the procession of the Equinoxes, and on the west by the Day of Judgement.

–The American Joe Miller's Jest Book

Chapter One introduces Shadow Moon, who is released from prison early to attend his wife's funeral. On his journey home, he encounters Mr. Wednesday who offers him a job.


Shadow Moon is near the end of his three-year prison sentence and has served his time keeping his head down and staying out of trouble. His cellmate Low Key Lyesmith kept him company and even taught him a thing or two, especially after lending him his copy of Herodotus: Histories.

With three days left of his sentence while he is sitting in the food hall, Sam Fetisher sidles over to him to warn him, "Storm's on the way. [...] Big storm coming. Keep your head down, Shadow-boy".

The next day he receives devastating news that his beloved wife, Laura, has died in a car accident. He is granted an early release to attend the funeral In Eagle Point, but his plane is diverted to St. Louis due to a thunderstorm. He boards another flight and meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday, who eerily knows all about Shadow and offers him a job. Shadow declines, leaving Mr. Wednesday on the plane, and rents a car to continue his journey. He stops for a drink and a bite to eat at Jack's Crocodile Bar in the town of Nottamun and when he heads to the restroom, he finds Mr. Wednesday there waiting for him, asking if he still wants the job.

Somewhere in America[]

Main article: Somewhere in America#Chapter One

A wannabe movie producer meets with a prostitute named Bilquis and gets more than he pays for.


While asleep on an airplane, Shadow sees a creature with the head of a buffalo and the body of a man. It speaks without moving its lips, saying, "Changes are coming [...] There are certain decisions that will have to be made." When Shadow asks where he is, the creature replies, "In the Earth and under the Earth [...] you are where the forgotten wait. [...] If you are to survive, you must believe." Shadow asks what he should believe in, and the creature opens its mouth to reveal "the flames that burned inside him, under the Earth." The Buffalo Man roars "Everything," and Shadow wakes up.



Notes and trivia[]

  • Shadow has a "Songbirds of North America" calendar in his prison cell.
  • Low Key Lyesmith loans Shadow a copy of Histories by Herodotus. He quotes from the book, "call no man happy, until he is dead."
  • The jukebox in Jack's Crocodile Bar plays Patsy Cline's " Walkin' After Midnight."
  • The wannabe movie producer's cell phone rings to "Ode to Joy," the final movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.