Thomas Walker’s great adventure had gone terribly wrong. Only a few days ago he and his father set out from New York to sell Samuel Colt’s Improved Revolving Gun in the hills of central Pennsylvania, hoping to make a living during the depression of the early 1800s. Now his father is dead, almost all of their possessions stolen. How was this twelve year old boy to get home to his aunt in New York? There are outlaws waiting to harm the unsuspecting traveler and all manner of unscrupulous persons waiting to take advantage of him. Retracing his path back to the last settlement, Thomas meets retired ranger, Henry Stands who now makes his living returning escaped prisoners and is heading toward Philadelphia. Although Thomas promises to pay well for help, Henry, a rough, profane, dangerous man, will not play nursemaid to a greenhorn boy. Determined to return home, Thomas follows Henry, for if Henry won’t help him, what will become of him?
I know, this sounds like the usual crusty curmudgeon meets smart resourceful child. But the book is much more than that. Told by the adult Thomas, the narration is faithful to the language of the era and gives the feel of an authentic memoir. It’s a captivating book, full of action, full of emotion, written for adults and is suitable for teens. Highly recommend.
eGalley review Publication date 2.4.14