Samuel lives on the frontier of the colonies – in a small settlement on the edge of the woods. He teaches himself how to hunt, track and live in the woods, feeling its rhythms and life.
One day his world is shattered. As he is on a ridge in the woods, he sees smoke rising – it’s in the direction of his settlement. His home. His parents.
He realizes the smoke signals something terrible has happened. He manages to reach the settlement before dark. And he finds it burned to the ground. His neighbors murdered. And his parents? Where are his parents?
Taken. Taken by who? And why? Does it have something to do with the rumors of war he’s heard about? But that’s happening in the cities, along the coast. What could have to do with his parents out on the frontier?
Samuel tracks his parents, and finds himself in the middle of the Revolutionary War.
Author Gary Paulsen occasionally interrupts Samuel story to give his readers short lessons on different aspects of life in the colonies, on the frontier and the Revolutionary War. Woods Runner is compelling, heart-breaking and heart-warming all at once. Paulsen does describe brutal, shocking attacks on innocent people and horrible conditions of prisons at that time. He also describes courageous, selfless people who sacrifice time and energy to help Samuel find his parents and rescue them from prison.
Highly recommended for ages 12 and up.