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“People of all ages will enjoy this book; outstanding use of the appropriate vernacular”

A book which is written about an era prior to the current generation affords the author a great latitude in storytelling. It will not, however, allow the writer to ignore known historical factors or physical surroundings prevalent during the supposed period. Thankfully, there are a few people who have the ability to spin a yarn suspended in historical fact therefore making the story totally believable. George Brandsberg is one such author.

AFOOT is the story of Joshua, a thirteen year old living in the late 1800’s. When his parents were killed in a hotel fire, he and his sister were taken in by an uncaring uncle who had no love or patience for either of them. After the uncle had effectively robbed Joshua and his sister of everything their parents had owned, Lucinda ran away, leaving Joshua to fend for himself.

After trying unsuccessfully to please the uncle, Joshua, too, finally broke loose from his only adult guidance and ran away. Knowing Lucinda had gone to Sioux City, Iowa, he decided to follow her and reestablish the only family left which ever meant anything to him.

What Joshua found on his quest was a once in a lifetime adventure. He rode the train for three days and had traveled west from Illinois through Iowa. Always worried the authorities might find him and take him back to his uncle, Joshua had lost his money to hoodlums and was at the mercy of those people he met on his journey. After working to obtain ticket money, he took a steamboat further west only to find Lucinda had moved even further ending up in Deadwood.

To get to Deadwood, Joshua signed on a trail drive as a cook and trailhand. While he had known about the great cattle drives of the west, he was greatly surprised when he discovered the herd being driven were not cattle, but turkeys. Still, he knew this was possibly the only way he could catch up to Lucinda.

The trail boss was a vulgar, mean spirited man with absolutely no concern for the likes of his employees or anyone else who would in any way slow his trip to Deadwood. The lessons Joshua would learn in the next few months were many and would serve him well in the future.

AFOOT is a quick read which often crosses the lines from humor to tragedy. Written for young adults, it will be enjoyed by people of all ages. Mr. Brandsberg has done a magnificent job of descriptions and his use of the appropriate vernacular is outstanding.

— Duane E. Nightengale, Topeka, Kansas

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