By Gary Paulsen
Wendy Lamb Books
Copyright © 2010
13 year old Samuel lives in Western Pennsylvania. He and his family live in what, at that time, is the American frontier. Samuel helps to feed his family by hunting deer and bear. He loves being in the forest; from it he has learned to hear what others don’t hear and see what others don’t see. Most of all he has learned to be independent and survive. While life is tough out on the frontier it is a good quiet life. All of that is shattered by the start of the American Revolutionary war. One day Samuel is out hunting and when he gets back he finds his home and many other homes in the area burned to the ground. Many of his neighbors have been killed for no reason, but a select few have been taken prisoner, his parents being among them. So Samuel sets off to rescue his parents. This is going to take all of what Samuel has learned about tracking and shooting as well as help from some good people along the way.
Paulsen has written an exciting and realistic Revolutionary War story, and he has done a great job at not glamorizing this war as so many other stories do. Paulsen’s description of this war includes descriptions of wounds, illnesses, poor living conditions, and the outright savageness of attacks. While it is sometimes rough information, I wouldn’t call it too graphic; it is tasteful but truthful. Paulsen’s fictitious account is action packed, moving, and historically accurate. This book is suitable, and enjoyable, for children ages 11 and up.