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He Will Go Fearless by Laurie Lawlor
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He Will Go Fearless

by Laurie Lawlor

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Reviewed by Grandma Bev for TeensReadToo.com

Billy has helped himself to his step-father's money, and run away from a home that he could no longer tolerate. St. Joseph, Missouri, is a long way from Virginia City, but he plans to go there to find the father that he doesn't remember. The fifteen-year-old is vulnerable, and two hard-case strangers, Jackson and Rock, manage to swindle him out of his money, but he joins them as a driver for a company transporting goods west by oxen.

Life is hard on the trail, and especially so for an inexperienced boy on his own. He learns how to handle the huge, obstinate animals, and gains the skills needed to travel the rough trails of the great plains and the frontier. The drivers suffer thirst, heat, storms, unending labor, and the threat of Indian attacks. The rough men who are Billy's companions are not always easy to get along with, but one man, Frenchy, befriends Billy to help and teach him as he leaves childhood behind.

Disagreements among the men lead to Rock's leaving the caravan, and then Frenchy's disappearance. The trail bosses' horse bolts in fear, and Billy sets out on his own to find and bring back the horse. The tension builds to a surprising climax.

A story rich in historical detail, with compelling characters and fast-paced adventure, it will appeal to even reluctant readers. Billy is an exciting new character that teens will love. This exciting book was hard to put down...I'll be watching for more from this talented writer, and the ending did leave an opening for a possible sequel. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 11, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0689865791, Hardcover)

Immediately following the Civil War, Billy, a fifteen-year-old runaway, sets out for the gold fields of Virginia City in treacherous Montana Territory. Good fortune for Billy is not so much about finding gold, though, as it is about finding his father. Finding the truth. Before crossing the Missouri River to embark on his journey, two cunning travelers commandeer Billy's life savings of twenty-nine dollars and two bits and convince him to join them as ox-drivers on a team headed with supply wagons for Montana. At first, being paid to make the trip doesn't sound half bad to Billy -- but he quickly discovers that truth never comes cheaply.

The arduous journey tests him for all he's worth. Across miles of arid plains, wild rivers, and steep mountains, Billy struggles to tame his unruly oxen and his own dangerous passions. He must find his place among unlikely traveling companions on a trek through hostile country that conceals Chief Red Cloud's warriors as well as armed highwaymen. Billy's rite of passage challenges everything he knows about survival and loss, reconciliation and discovery.

In this vivid historical novel inspired by the real diaries of photographer William Henry Jackson, award-winning author Laurie Lawlor takes readers on a sweeping quest through the perilous old West.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:02:38 -0400)

With the Civil War ended and Reconstruction begun, fifteen-year-old Billy resolves to make the dangerous and challenging journey West in search of real fortune--his true father.

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