Sig Andersson has a choice to make - use the gun or die. An unforgettable, razor-sharp psychological thriller set in the snowy wilderness of the Arctic Circle. Recipient of a Michael L. Printz Honor 2011, shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010 and longlisted for the GUARDIAN Children's Fiction Prize 2010.
1910. A cabin north of the Arctic Circle. Fifteen-year-old Sig Andersson is alone. Alone, except for the corpse of his father, who died earlier that day after falling through a weak spot on the ice-covered lake. His sister, Anna, and step-mother, Nadya, have gone to the local town for help.
Then comes a knock at the door. It's a man, the flash of a revolver's butt at his hip, and a mean glare in his eyes. Sig has never seen him before but Wolff claims to have unfinished business with his father.
As Sig gradually learns the awful truth about Wolff's connection to his father, his thoughts are drawn to a certain box hidden on a shelf in the storeroom, in which lies his father's prized possession - a revolver.
As the stakes rise and Wolff begins to close in, Sig's choice is pulled into sharp focus. Should he use the gun?
Set in 1910, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Scandinavian town of Giron, this intense survival story is propelled by a relentless sense of danger and bone-chilling cold. Einar, teenage Sig's father, has died after a fall through the ice. But the harsh environment pales in comparison with the ruthless stranger, Gunther Wolff, who demands from Sig and his sister the gold their father allegedly stole from him a decade earlier in the Alaska Gold Rush. Sedgwick (My Swordhand Is Singing) reveals the truth in riveting, gemlike scenes that juggle time periods, points of view, and the family's divided worldview, epitomized by Einar's Colt revolver. "Guns are evil. Evil, Einar," says Sig's pacifist mother, while the more pragmatic Einar believes his Colt is "the most beautiful thing in the world." In the end, the gun plays a pivotal role as Sig must shape his own view and act accordingly. Gracefully weaving in sources as diverse as the Old Testament story of Job and an 1896 ad for the revolver, Sedgwick lures his readers into deeper thinking while they savor this thrillingly told tale. Ages 12 up.