Road to Reckoning
Twelve-year-old Thomas Walker and his father leave the city of New York in the mid-1830s to sell Samuel Colt’s new invention, a revolving gun. They enjoy each other’s company as they travel the roads and trails of Pennsylvania. Along the way west, Thomas’ father is robbed and killed. Thomas manages to escape with the only item still left in his possession – a wooden replica of the Colt revolver. An encounter with Henry Stands, a former Indiana ranger, leads to a complicated partnership. At first Stands doesn’t want to be bothered with the twelve-year-old boy, but because they are heading in the same direction, Stands agrees to help Walker return home to New York. Following the two are the outlaws who killed his father, hoping to finish the job before the boy reports the crime.
Advertised as a literary crime novel, the book is compared favorably by the publisher with the popular western novel True Grit. I agree. This book is a well-written literary novel told from the viewpoint of Thomas Walker years after the events transpired. The characters, dialog and the description of the locations they visit are all well written. As I read the novel, I could picture the events happening as if I were watching a movie – very descriptive. The author is an Englishman living in Wales, and he has shown the land and people of early 19th-century pioneer America with historical accuracy. It will probably be on my list of the top 10 books I’ve read this year.
Early United States
256 (US), 240 (UK)