Bear Claws: The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book 2

Written by Robert Lee Murphy
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In 1868 Wyoming, young Will Braddock is a hunter for the Union Pacific Railroad. The transcontinental railroad is being built as it continues to move west. While on a hunt he finds Bullfrog Charlie Munroe, trapper and father to his Cheyenne friend Lone Eagle, killed by a grizzly. When Will kills the grizzly, his ties with Lone Eagle grow stronger. His nemesis, young Paddy O’Hannigan, is ordered to disrupt the construction of the railroad and also has a vendetta against Will.

As Will accompanies his uncle further west, Will befriends a Chinese youth working on the Central Pacific Railroad, moving east to meet with the Union Pacific. The two discover a plot to blow up the rail line that Ulysses S. Grant is traveling. They must find the dynamite and remove the explosions before Grant arrives. His adventures continue to mount as he is then ordered to guide a German aristocrat on a hunt through the mountains of Wyoming. Can Paddy be far behind to cause more trouble for Will?

This is the second novel in the Iron Horse Chronicles trilogy. The author’s descriptions of this early chapter of the transcontinental railroad are engaging and well researched. The young characters in his novel are believable for the historical era. The action is well-paced with little violence, bad language or gory details included in his storytelling. I recommend this coming-of-age book primarily for young adult readers, although older readers may enjoy the story as I did.