THE IRON HORSE CHRONICLES #1
By Robert Lee Murphy
Five Star, October 2014
Will Braddock doesn’t want some old judge dictating his future. The newly orphaned fourteen-year-old embarks upon a quest to determine his own destiny. He needs to convince his uncle to not sign the judge’s papers sentencing him to a life as a blacksmith’s apprentice. His uncle is a surveyor on the first transcontinental railroad and Will wants to be a part of the excitement of building the Union Pacific Railroad.
Will must prove to his uncle he possesses the gumption to make his own way in the dangerous west. Soon Will finds himself the target of a young Irish thug, who harbors a vendetta against his family and is determined to kill him. He also saves a mixed-blood Cheyenne youth from quicksand and receives two eagle talons in thanks and is convinced they bring luck to him.
When a feisty girl is kidnapped and the Army refuses to send troops to rescue the young lady, Will decides to disobey his uncle and risk his future in an effort to free her.
Set in 1867 this story seamlessly blends fiction with true historical events and features a number of real people.
Will Braddock is a very likeable youngster and a number of those he’ll become involved with fall into the same age group. So, in some ways, this is a coming of age tale, but Will has to grow up fast if he’s to achieve his goals.
Robert Lee Murphy mixes a number of sub-plots in with the real timeline of the building of the railroad and all provide twists and turns that held my attention well. His characters are engaging and I soon found hooked into their lives and found the book difficult to put down as I wanted to see what troubles would befall them next.
Murphy’s descriptions paint vivid pictures in the mind, place you right in the thick of the various exciting action scenes. Most of the story follows Braddock but Murphy occasionally switches to one or two of his other characters so the reader will begin to wonder how Braddock will deal with the troubles that are heading his way.
With such young leads this book should appeal to a wide age range of readers and should be enjoyed by all who love westerns.
This book is the first in a trilogy and I am already looking forward to the next.
Eagle Talons is to be published on October 22nd but can be pre-ordered now from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.