Praise for Road to Reckoning

From Booklist

The year is 1837, when 12-year-old Thomas and his widower father head west, planning to sell the newly invented Colt “Improved Revolving Gun” on commission. They get no farther than Pennsylvania, however, before they are ambushed and the father killed, leaving Thomas an orphan. That’s when he meets Henry Stands, a former Indiana Ranger, who reluctantly takes him under his wing. “He had a great belly,” Thomas says of Stands, “and broad limbs that looked like they could carry anything he cared to.” Stands is larger than life in his intimidating presence, too, a good man to have at your back when you’re 12, your father’s murderers may be on your trail, and home is your desire and destination. But evil men are crafty; home is far away; and Thomas’ troubles have only begun. Lautner’s is a tale of guns and grit that will remind most readers of Charles Portis’ modern classic True Grit, with Henry Stands a stand-in for Rooster Cogburn. None of this is to discount the frontier charm of Road to Reckoning or the appealing voice of its protagonist, Thomas, a worthy successor to Mattie Ross. For a great double feature, read both books. –Michael Cart –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Like “True Grit,” this novel stars a youngster who travels across the Wild West with a crusty adult. But this tale’s hero is a boy, and the author’s eye for detail and ear for dialogue show the large amount of research that a good novelist will undertake. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Best Book of 2014))

“[Road to Reckoning] is drawing inevitable comparisons to Charles Portis’ True Grit. . . . What the two books most have in common is elegant writing and an air of historical authenticity. . . . Unforgettable characters give the book an unexpected staying power.” (Fort Worth Star-Telegram)

“A novel you won’t soon forget. . . Provides a harrowing glimpse into a period of America that history books have tended to neglect.” (Free Lance-Star)

“A well-written literary novel. . . . I could picture the events happening as if I were watching a movie. . . . [Lautner] has shown the land and people of early 19th-century pioneer America with historical accuracy. It will probably be on my list of the top 10 books I’ve read this year.” (Historical Novels Review)

“Tailor-made for the movies (think True Grit). . . . Lautner’s swiftly moving tale reanimates a forgotten era and location in American history.” (Penthouse Magazine)

“A thrilling, violent, dangerous piece of old-fashioned storytelling, that is also humane and unshowily moving.” (The Times (UK))

“Lautner’s is a tale of guns and grit that will remind most readers of Charles Portis’ modern classic True Grit, with Henry Stands a stand-in for Rooster Cogburn. None of this is to discount the frontier charm of Road to Reckoning or the appealing voice of its protagonist, Thomas, a worthy successor to Mattie Ross.” (Booklist)

“An interesting tale from an unusual era . . . Great stuff. Lautner manages character maturation sans the usual sentiment associated with wide-eyed narration. It’s also a superior historical novel offering an unexpectedly keen window to a dim corner of American history.” (Library Journal)

“Twisty, gripping. . . Robust. . . Wears its meticulous research lightly.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Lautner impresses . . . with a crackling coming-of-age revenge tale set in the lawless wilderness of pre-Civil War Pennsylvania. . . . Thomas recounts these formative events of his youth through the hindsight of adulthood with wisdom that makes him an appealing narrator with a knack for a poetic turn of phrase. The descriptions of the wilderness and cities of 19th century Pennsylvania feel particularly alive and specific. . . . The story is a comforting pleasure with many rewards.” (Publishers Weekly)

“If you love famous westerns like All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy or Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry you must read Robert Lautner’s Road to Reckoning.” (Oxford Royale Academy)

“Lautner’s ear for dialogue and eye for detail [are] so remarkable. . . . We’re indebted to Lautner for a dandy story.” (St. Louis-Post Dispatch)

“Lautner knows how to a turn a phrase, and his novel is a delight to read, to pause and go back, and read again just to feel the flavor of the words as they move forward off the tongue. I am interested in seeing what he writes next.” (The Oklahoman)

“This quiet triumph of a novel, a sad and impeccably nuanced tale set against a finely drawn landscape of early pioneer America, left me just amazed and delighted; it will surely establish Robert Lautner as a storyteller of the first order.” (Simon Winchester, author of The Men Who United the States and The Professor and the Madman)

“Not a single needless word in Road to Reckoning, a beautiful gem of a novel, exquisitely written and swiftly plotted. Featuring an unforgettable character on a hero’s journey, it packs an old-fashioned emotional wallop.” (Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House)

“Road to Reckoning is a rare feat of storytelling. Robert Lautner has created something truly wonderful in the character of Thomas Walker—whose steady, strong voice I won’t soon forget—and the vivid world he inhabits. This is a literary thriller in the best sense, simultaneously gritty and tender, rousing and lyrical.” (Silas House, author of A Parchment of Leaves and Clay’s Quilt)

“Remarkable … A novel about a young man reaching for manhood after the killing of his father and about the invention and selling of Col. Samuel Colt’s revolving pistol, and the way it changed the West. Those who love True Grit will love this.” (Michael Korda, author of Hero)

“Robert Lautner has written a compelling, poetic page-turner that really impresses with its precision and heart. . . . In Thomas Walker and Henry Stands he has created characters who live in the memory long after the book is closed. In their relationship I read hope, and honor: a boy seeking his father and a man finding the father within him.” (Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English)

“As simply told tales go, this is one of the best. It shares with its hero a plain eloquence and a determination and a grace rare in the world and in books. Give Road to Reckoning to every man you know and they’ll thank you for it.” (Joshua Ferris, author of The Unnamed)


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