Review by Jeana Gockley

4th-8th Grade

The year is 1776 and 13-year-old Samuel lives in the Pennsylvania wilderness with his parents. While Samuel has heard rumors of fighting in the cities to the East, he does not give it much thought, because he and his family seem so far away.

Despite the distance, the war does come to Samuel, in the form of a British and Iroquois attack on his village, in which his parents are kidnapped. Samuel is hunting when the attack happens, but has enough knowledge of tracking and the wilderness to pick up the group’s trail several hours later. It is his hope to rescue his parents, but along the way he encounters many obstacles and witnesses unspeakable violence. Thankfully, he also meets unexpected allies and it is with their help that he is able to continue his journey.

The American Revolution comes alive through Paulsen’s writing. His unique perspective outside of the “formal” fighting gives readers a sense of what the war was really like for everyday people. Readers will be hard pressed to stop reading Samuel’s story and some might be intrigued enough to use the information in the book as a starting point for their own research about the long and bloody war that claimed so many lives.