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With taut prose and a swift plot this literary crime novel set in 1800s Pennsylvania captures the unlikely friendship between a spirited young boy and a gruff ex ranger on a shared uest for vengeanceTwelve year old Thomas Walker has never left New York City His father a traveling salesman hoping to earn money by selling Samuel Colt’s recent invention the “Improved Revolving Gun” takes young Thomas with him on the road But even the world’s first true revolver cannot save them from danger and what starts as an adventure soon turns into a nightmareWhen his father is murdered Thomas must rely on his own wits courage and determination as well as a wooden replica of the Colt revolver to protect himself Luckily an encounter with a surly ex ranger Henry Stands leads to an improbable partnership and the two set out in perilous pursuit of vengeance—that is if they can escape the thieves who lurk around each trail river and roadIn the spirit of The Sisters Brothers and True Grit this spare elegant and emotionally resonant story conveys through a boy’s eyes the pain of losing a father as well as the fascinating history of how the birth of the revolver changed the course of violence in America Road to Reckoning offers a window into the history of the American West and the heart of a boy yearning for love

10 thoughts on “Road to Reckoning

  1. says:

    35 A wonderful return to the old time western this takes place in the 1830's and starts in Pennsylvania twelve year old Thomas and his father are left alone after the death of his mother when they meet Mister Colt the man who wants to change the West with his new Colt firearm Henry's father agrees to travel West and to sell this firearm earning a commission on every sale AS Thomas says they never make itSo this wonderful story of a father and son turns into a story of revenge of friendship when Thomas makes the acuaintance of ex ranger Henry Sands and about the return homeAn engaging narrative plenty of humor and many heartfelt moments arf to be found in this debut novelOne of my first jobs was with Colt Industries steel division and the history of the Colt firearm was what drew me to this novel

  2. says:

    DECLINED?????????????surely you are mistaken netgalley

  3. says:

    DNF'd at 50%I'm not rating this one because I don't think it's a horrible book I just can't get interested in it right nowI think this one is a case of it's not you it's me

  4. says:

    Believe me when I say that you haven't read a narrative voice like this in a long time so get the heck out there and read it This is like the carpaccio of westerns no fat at all Economical in the telling but with a knock you down punch Not a genre I usually read but I was really glad I did One of the most interesting as in different books I've read in a long time

  5. says:

    Coming of age Western set in frontier parts of Pennsylvania in the early 1800s The story reminded me a bit of True Grit but had its own distinct story to tell It took me a couple of chapters to get into it but soon I found it hard to put down Great characters spare writing to give it that Western feel and a story that's both gritty and emotional This would be a great book for those just beginning to explore the Western genre

  6. says:

    Road To Reckoning by Robert LautnerThis story takes place in 1837 Twelve year old Thomas Walker resides in New York His father a salesman by trade catches wind of a new invention by a Samuel Colt Calling it the Improved Revolving Gun the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company signs on the marketer as commission work Excited to lift the financial burden off his family the duo begin to travel west bringing along a wooden replica and a dozen of the original guns As the journey becomes farther from home danger and risk generates a focus on their campaign The road to fortune becomes paved with treacherous jeopardy The duo soon fall prey to the wickedness and evil of violent bullies Thomas finds himself alone and reuiring the impossible task of venturing on his way home An unlikely savior in the form of a rum drinking hell raising ex militia ranger crosses paths with the young boy The pair create a mission of their own full of vengeance bloodshed and survival that only the Wild West can conjureRobert Lautner's Road To Reckoning is a historical fiction ride through nineteenth century America The reader is invited to participate in a westward expedition full of wonderfully written gritty characters and unprotected paths that burden a tense purpose upon the plot The descriptions of the environment enriches the plot and provides the abrasiveness needed as the background for the inhabitants Each chapter contributes a cliff hanging uality that ministers a craving for the next portion of fiction These combinations result in a constant western frontier feel that doesn't slow down Fans of this brand will revel in the talent Lautner obviously has however this particular novel comes with a strong recommendation for readers of all genres The tone is set with the opening uotation the Lord made man But Sam Colt made them eual then proceeds to provide all the ingredients that is reuired for an entertaining book you truly can't put down

  7. says:

    I thought I would give this a try since it is an almost western written by an Englishman It felt pretty authentic to me The narrator was an older man telling the story of his youthful trek to the west to sell Henry Colt's first gun to the settlers The west being in this instance Pennsylvania or Indiana The writing was of that vague not uite concrete type sort of a reproduction of the style of that time The characters were vivid The places and happenings were very vivid also Worth the read and I would try this author again

  8. says:

    Robert Lautner is from Middlesex a leafy little corner of England You wouldn't know it from reading this It reads like a bonefide American classic akin to True Grit or Lonesome Dove The atmosphere that Lautner has created is a fine representation of the period and of the place and it is a genuinely passable effort at an Englishman writing a westernThomas Walker twelve of New York sees and experiences some horrific things on his journey west to sell Colt's revolver with his father We experience the tale through his eyes looking back on all that happened in the later part of his life through the lens of the civil war and the death brought about by mechanised and industrialised weaponry Walker as an old man has many regrets from his youth and it can be seen reflected in his wry and twisting narrative He explores his relationship from his father and what constitutes the truly masculine male His father is a coward Henry Stands is his idealised view of manliness where his father surrenders and dies at the hands of bandits Stands is stoic in his resolve heroic in his own way and totally unshakeableWhat we see is a tale filled with emotional conflict Walker idolises Stands to the point that he almost wishes he had Stands for a father the man haunts his dreams and he is held out as an example of 'the actual' But at the same time the older Walker has turned his back of violence he has lost his sons in the civil war and in his later years he reminisces about his time with Stands with a sort of wistful longingness tinged with shame and regret It is a truly fascinating readThere are some real spit and sawdust moments in here too saloon fights camping tales an incident in a mine that was a little bit chilling and all of those things served to create a tale that was reminiscent of 1950s English books for boys; think Biggles This point leads me to the but in that some of these moments were a little too clichéd for my liking and felt like the author had sat down and thought 'if I was going to write a Western I'd do this' The saloon fight panned out in exactly the same way as expected the chapter in the mine was a sort of peculiar caricature that didn't really fit with the rest of the story and the end result of the scene was all a little too contrived The author didn't know uite how to deal with it at the end of the novel and it was just sort of glossed over and brushed to one side Of course there is something to be said for the art of the narrative and the older narrator telling the tale of his boyhood with a sort of hyperbolic exaggeration I found it difficult to tell whether that was the case or whether there were moments where the author just didn't uite get the tone and timbre right I'd like to say it was the former but I think the latter is probably likelyAll of that said I would recommend this to anyone interested in Westerns or in a good historical yarn Suspend your disbelief and all will be well It's a three from me

  9. says:

    from publisher via NetGalley My opinions are my ownThough set in 1837 northern Pennsylvania this is in the spirit of a true western during a time when much of rural Pennsylvania was still wild and lawless Twelve year old Thomas Walker sets out from New York City with his father to sell a new Colt revolver but they hardly make it beyond Milton PA just shy of central Pennsylvania before his father is murdered by a lawless and violent man In his efforts to return home Thomas makes his way along the road with a reluctant guide former Indiana Ranger and War of 1812 Veteran Henry Stands Just as they are beginning to bond danger threatens themI was surprised to discover the author is British and still lives in the UK because the American “West” really comes alive so easily with an authentic narrative That is saying something coming from a born and bred Pennsylvanian with a love of local history Although the short adventurous plot makes this a fast paced page turner it’s also uite literary and the character development in particular Henry Stands is what really makes this novel shine Very enjoyable read and I look forward to what the author will have to offer in the future

  10. says:

    Englishman writes a Western and 100% pulls it off Lautner’s storytelling in on point conjuring up wonderful imagery in an old man’s reflective tale of his 12yr old coming of age adventure uite literally a rite of passage I often sum up with three things you can expect in these mini reviews that I rate as some of the best features so for this one I will leave you with cannibals Indians and a faithful old horse called Jude Brown