William Tuck is set on justice. For his brother killed by British soldiers, for his friend Rebecca’s father held prisoner by the redcoats, and for the countless other rebel Americans struggling beneath the crushing weight of British rule.
The whispered words of a dying soldier, and a mysterious watch, give William all the ammunition he needs; a secret message for the leader of the rebel army. Rebecca disguises herself as a boy, and she and William join the American troops. They embark on an epic journey that pulls them into a secret network of spies, pits them against dangerous gunmen, and leads them on a quest to find General George Washington himself.
Can William and Rebecca determine friend from foe long enough to deliver a message that might just change the tide of the American Revolution?
Praise for The Last Ride of Caleb O’Toole, winner of the MPIBA Reading the West Award
“In this action-packed debut novel…Pierpont has created a suspenseful, enlightening read featuring worthy allies and wicked enemies.” —Booklist
“The fast-paced adventure serves up a hearty history lesson with side dishes of political, social and environmental commentary. Realistic and complicated characters give the familiar story of the pioneer’s journey fresh life…a suspenseful adventure with heart.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The pace doesn’t let up TV and film actor Pierpoint offers a rowdy Wild West adventure in his first book for children… Readers seeking action, history, and adventure aren’t likely to mind.” —Publishers Weekly
depth and intrigue to the rather dry accounts of textbooks,
William is a first-hand witness to the murder of his brother by British soldiers. The War of Independence is heating up, and William, in tandem with Rebecca, a daughter of an imprisoned spy, undertake a mission to deliver a message as they pose as ordinary, if young, colonials.
Familiar and lesser known moments and scenes from history are chronicled: the HMS Jersey, Yorktown, even the soldier Peter Francisco all add depth and intrigue to the rather dry accounts of textbooks, and encourage you to read on. William and Rebecca are wonderful young protagonists, at 12 and 16 respectively, their determination and cleverness maneuvering through the pitfalls of war, double agents, danger and primitive living conditions intrigue and engage imagination.
No battle for hearts or minds is ever truly won on the field: belief and support from all levels of society need be involved and heard. While we rarely hear of the many unknown who supported the fight for independence, Pierpoint brings two young voices into the game, with motivations both possible and plausible, and show that historical fiction can be fun and educational.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.