A LOADED GUN. STOLEN GOLD. And a menacing stranger. A taut frontier survivor story, set at the time of the Alaska gold rush.
In an isolated cabin, fourteen-year-old Sig is alone with a corpse: his father, who has fallen through the ice and frozen to death only hours earlier. Then comes a stranger claiming that Sig’s father owes him a share of a horde of stolen gold. Sig’s only protection is a loaded Colt revolver hidden in the cabin’s storeroom. The question is, will Sig use the gun, and why?
Set in 1910, 100 miles north of the Arctic Circle in the Scandinavian town of Giron, this intense survival story is propelled by a relentless sense of danger and bone-chilling cold. Einar, teenage Sig's father, has died after a fall through the ice. But the harsh environment pales in comparison with the ruthless stranger, Gunther Wolff, who demands from Sig and his sister the gold their father allegedly stole from him a decade earlier in the Alaska Gold Rush. Sedgwick (My Swordhand Is Singing) reveals the truth in riveting, gemlike scenes that juggle time periods, points of view, and the family's divided worldview, epitomized by Einar's Colt revolver. “Guns are evil. Evil, Einar,” says Sig's pacifist mother, while the more pragmatic Einar believes his Colt is “the most beautiful thing in the world.” In the end, the gun plays a pivotal role as Sig must shape his own view and act accordingly. Gracefully weaving in sources as diverse as the Old Testament story of Job and an 1896 ad for the revolver, Sedgwick lures his readers into deeper thinking while they savor this thrillingly told tale. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)