Friday, September 20, 2013
If you liked Wagon Train, check out Hank of Twin Rivers by M.C. Arvanitis - sneak peek excerpt!
A little background
Twelve year old, Hank's Pa hates him. But what can he do about it, he can't make himself grow taller, and now that the cholera has weakened his leg and he finds himself limping, he feels even more inadequate. The disease took away his mother so he doesn't have her to comfort him .. to be "coddled" as Pa calls it. His only comfort is his pet cow, Clementine, and Ma's brother, Uncle Mac. Plagued by the Monster Goose, who nips his butt whenever it gets close to him, and his fear of Pa's disappointment of him, he hides in daydreaming and book reading. When Pa decides to homestead on land in western Nebraska, Hank rebels. Pa’s discipline is quick and painful and Hank has to obey. They follow the wild Platte River on the Oregon Trail crossing rattlesnake infested prairies, fording raging rivers, and eating dust while walking behind the slow wagon. He withstands the unpredictable mid-western weather of hailstorms, dust storms, an early blizzard and flash floods. Stampeding buffalo, murdering claim jumpers, unfriendly Indian Tribes forces him to face life on the wild frontierland.
His troubles are lightened when he finds friends along the trail:among them are Rusty, a rich Southern boy from Missouri; Nora, a teasing eight-year-old girl from Wisconsin; and Moses, an escaped slave. In the Platte Valley Pa sets up a trading post to service wagon trains on both the Mormon and Oregon Trails. When an itinerant preacher and his large family settle nearby, Hank meets another complication to his life, the feisty, red haired preacher's daughter, Becca,
They stopped beside a stack of canvas. A short, heavy man spread his hands out over the pile. “If ye be lookin’ for canvas, ‘tis the place.” Hank listened while Uncle Mac dickered with the canvas merchant. Their Irish brogue was so thick that he could barely understand them. A commotion from a nearby saloon caught his attention. He walked to the open door and looked in. The two men who had almost run him down earlier were arguing with a young Union soldier. The scar-faced man shouted, “What’d ya say, Yankee?” “I said,” replied the soldier shaking his fist at the Butler brothers, “That the northern states will never allow slavery in.” Scarface turned to his brother. “Did ya hear that, Hector?” Hector sneered his answer, “The only good Yank is a dead Yank!” At this the two men shoved the soldier out of the door. He stumbled and fell against Hank’s legs. Hank fell on top of the soldier. In an instant the scar-faced man pulled a pistol from his belt and aimed it at the soldier. Hank froze! The gun barrel pointed directly at him.
HANK OF TWIN RIVERS, Journey of Change."The story takes place in mid 1800 and tells of a twelve year old boy's often dangerous and always exciting adventures along the Oregon Trail which follows the Platte River in the Nebraska Territory.