Gr. 7-9. Peck's latest begins with the train-and-car collision that kills 9-year-old Tug's parents--though he walks away unscathed--and ends with the boy at the grave of his 18-year-old brother, Bro. The story takes place in 1933, mainly on the Florida cattle ranch where Tug, who is mute, goes to live with his grandfather and in the prison where Bro is serving time, until his escape. The settings are swiftly but skillfully drawn, and the characters are generally convincing, though Bro seems idealized and his revenge on his cruel pursuer, a prison guard, as inevitable as his own death. Tug appears to be the protagonist, but the focus often shifts to other, older characters--first Tug's grandfather and then his brother--and having some chapters in Tug's first person and others in third person is a bit awkward. However, readers looking for action will find plenty here: the car wreck, bull castration, a prison break, a shoot-out, and the birth of a foal requiring Tug's small arm up the mare's birth canal, which is vintage Peck. For larger collections. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
About the Author
Robert Newton Peck is the author of more than sixty books, including Horse Thief, Cowboy ghost, and A Day No Pigs Would Die. According to Newsweek, Mr. Peck "manages to evoke a sense of vanished America -- when neighbors were neighborly, when food was home-cooked, and clothes and philosophy homespun." Raised on a farm, he is familiar with cattle, hogs, and horses. He lives with his wife, Sam, in Longwood, Florida, where he and a partner currently own eleven mustangs.