The Apprenticeship of NIgel Blackthorn by Frank Kelso

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Nigel’s easy life crumbled with the plunk of a painted arrow into his father's chest. Alone on the prairie, his choice is work or starve—apprentice on a mule-train or an orphanage. Which is worse?

When his family falls victim of a brutal Comanche attack, Nigel's life changed forever. While he escaped the slaughter, the rest of his loved ones didn’t. Plump, spoiled, and lazy, the preacher's son finds himself alone, struggling to survive on the wild frontier.

When Pascal, leader of a mule train, stumbles upon the smoking wagons, he offers Nigel a ride in exchange for hard labor. With little choice, Nigel accepts the promise of food and shelter for work. At 13, he believes cooking is a woman’s work—it’s his sisters’ job. Pascal, a defrocked priest, solves the problem, and makes Nigel the cook’s helper. Spurred onward by his desire to avenge his murdered family, he endures grueling days and countless painful lessons.

One lesson is to learn to understand another man’s life. Pascal leaves Nigel with the Cheyenne people to learn their ways and become a man.

Can Nigel survive long enough to find justice for his lost family or will the Wild West claim yet another victim?

I usually don't read westerns but I enjoyed this book very much. I'm looking forward to reading book II. Gives great insight into what the plains Native Americans and the 1850's frontier were like. The hardships and beliefs of “The People” (Cheyenne) as told by the author was fascinating to me. A very believable tail of the western frontier of the 1850's.” 5* review on Amazon.

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