My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Easy to tell why Revolver is highly honored. it's a thrilling historical story of adventure and survival for boys that girls and adults will also enjoy. It takes readers to a place most have never been before, the other side of the arctic circle. I spent some time in took me right back.
We start in 1910 in Giron, Alaska inside a lonely cabin, with 14-year-old Sig and his father's corpse. The story question, what made his father, a veteran of the climate, try to cross the lake at a time and location where the ice was thinnest, and where he fell through and froze to death. The answer comes with a knock on the cabin door, and a man who has been chasing the family since they left Nome ten years earlier, looking for gold he claims Sig's father owed him, and that Sig knows does not exist.
The story moves back and forth between the events of 1899-1900 that sets a killer on the family’s trail, and 1910 when Sig has to face a man ready to kill for the gold he thinks the family has. We get a picture of the history of the Alaskan Gold Rush, where the only people who really made money after the original discovery were the service providers, saloons, and men like Sig's father who worked in an assay office. We learn about the Colt revolver in the lessons Sig’s father taught him about the way guns work and why they are sometimes the only answer to problems. We also learn lessons Sig's murdered mother tried to teach him, about Faith, Hope and Love. And finally, we learn the lesson Sig has to teach himself about survival as the boy struggles to save himself and his older sister from the invader killed his mother and intends to continue killing and raping until he finds the gold he believes this family living a subsistence life in the middle of emptiness has hidden.
The beauty, simplicity and total justice of the ending should appeal to young readers of all ages. Not to mention the real secret Sig's father worked hard to keep from taking to his grave with him.
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