Having read the previous book I decided I would go to a traditional Gary Paulsen with this read. Woods Runner certainly is not traditional though - not for Gary Paulsen nor for a fiction book. This story follows thirteen year old Samuel who lives with his parents at the edge of the wilderness in the British Colony of Pennsylvania. They are a long way from other settlers and from any towns. It is true frontier country. Samuel is growing in his hunting skills and it is while he is out hunting for his family that they are attacked by British soldiers and Iroquois. Samuel arrives home to find their cottage raised to the ground. He fearfully goes on to his nearest neighbours and finds them all savagely murdered. Samuel is convinced that his own parents have been taken prisoner and thus begins his quest to find them. He discovers how brutal his enemy can be but alos how courageous his allies are on his behalf. As he makes his way deep into the enemy territory he makes lifelong friendships and loyalties.
Each chapter of Samuel's story is followed by a fact file about the American Revolution. Gary Paulsen does not spare the reader any of the gruesome details of warfare and frontier life in those times. The details are compelling. This makes for a deeper understanding of Samuel's life and a greater appreciation of his bravery.
Gary Paulsen talks about his writing and Wood Runner.
A Book Review posted at National Geographic Kids by Reed.