He Will Go Fearless

Book Description

Imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the Civ­il War, Bil­ly, a 15-year-old run­away, sets out for the gold fields of Vir­ginia City in treach­er­ous Mon­tana Ter­ri­to­ry. Good for­tune for Bil­ly is not so much about find­ing gold, though, as it is about find­ing his father. Find­ing the truth.

Before cross­ing the Mis­souri Riv­er to embark on his jour­ney, two cun­ning trav­el­ers com­man­deer Bil­ly’s life sav­ings of twen­ty-nine dol­lars and two bits and con­vince him to join them as ox dri­vers on a team head­ed with sup­ply wag­ons for Mon­tana. At first, being paid to make the trip does­n’t sound half bad to Billy—but he quick­ly dis­cov­ers that truth nev­er comes cheaply.

The ardu­ous jour­ney tests him for all he’s worth. Across miles of arid plains, wild rivers, and steep moun­tain, Bil­ly strug­gles to tame his unruly oxen and his own dan­ger­ous pas­sions. He must find his place among unlike­ly trav­el­ing com­pan­ions on a trek through hos­tile coun­try that con­ceals Chief Red Cloud’s war­riors as well as armed high­way­men. Bil­ly’s rite of pas­sage chal­lenges every­thing he knows about sur­vival and loss, rec­on­cil­i­a­tion and discovery.

In this vivid his­tor­i­cal nov­el inspired by the real diaries of pho­tog­ra­ph­er William Hen­ry Jack­son, award win­ning author Lau­rie Lawlor takes read­ers on a sweep­ing quest through the per­ilous Old West.

Reviews and Comments

“Dan­ger, adven­ture, and sur­vival com­bine to make this a rich­ly detailed sto­ry. … Bil­ly is cer­tain­ly coura­geous. Boys, espe­cial­ly, will enjoy this book.” (School Library Jour­nal)

“Lawlor paints a strik­ing pic­ture of the rough-and-tum­ble world of the post-Civ­il War west­ern migra­tion. Her vivid descrip­tions of hitch­ing up the oxen each morn­ing or the dif­fi­cul­ties of ford­ing rivers make Bil­ly’s Old West come alive.” (Book­list)

“…the pure west­ern fla­vor of the book will attract read­ers who appre­ci­ate the genre or are look­ing to get a sense of life in the Old West.” (VOYA)

“A sto­ry rich in his­tor­i­cal detail, with com­pelling char­ac­ters and fast-paced adven­ture, it will appeal to even reluc­tant read­ers. Bil­ly is an excit­ing new char­ac­ter that teens will love. This excit­ing book was hard to put down … I’ll be watch­ing for more from this tal­ent­ed writer, and the end­ing did leave an open­ing for a pos­si­ble sequel.” (five star rat­ing, www.teensreadtoo.com)

“Bil­ly is a char­ac­ter many stu­dents can iden­ti­fy with. He has a messed up home life, lit­tle inter­est in school, dreams of bet­ter places, and wish­es to be more grown up. Lau­rie Lawlor’s research into peri­od diaries for authen­tic details is evi­dent. … (This will) make a great read-aloud.” (Library Media Con­nec­tion)

“From snake-oil sales­men to a stormy Plat­te Riv­er cross­ing, Lawlor’s com­ing-of-age tale cre­ates an authen­tic sense of place in the after­math of the Civ­il War. … it is Bil­ly him­self, his time­less aspi­ra­tions and his men­tor­ship by the enig­mat­ic lon­er Frenchy that warms the heart and affirms the pow­er of per­se­ver­ance and hope. A worth­while rite of pas­sage.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Fif­teen-year-old Bil­ly sneaks off to find his birth father, nev­er reck­on­ing on the adven­tures that will come his way as part of a cat­tle dri­ve in the wild West.” (The Bul­letin of the Cen­ter for Chil­dren’s Books)

“Based loose­ly on diaries of west­ern artist William Hen­ry Jack­son, read­ers will cheer for Bil­ly as he strug­gles toward Vir­ginia City and steps into adult­hood.” (Kansas Nation­al Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion Read­ing Cir­cle Catalog)

“Eager to find his father at the end of the Civ­il War,15 year-old Bil­ly heads west to the Mon­tana Ter­ri­to­ry, but after being con­vinced to become an ox-dri­ver, Bil­ly finds him­self deal­ing with per­son­al chal­lenges and hos­tile ter­rain that he nev­er expect­ed to face.” (www.just-for-kids.com)

“Bil­ly at age 15 finds out that his real father is still alive and runs away from home to find his father in Vir­ginia City, Neva­da. … This old west adven­ture will appeal to stu­dents in mid­dle schools.” (Lin­coln Coun­ty School Dis­trict, Oregon)

He Will Go Fearless

writ­ten by Lau­rie Lawlor
Simon & Schus­ter, 2005

This book was inspired by the diaries of
pho­tog­ra­ph­er William Hen­ry Jack­son.
You’ll also enjoy
Win­dow on the West:
The Fron­tier Pho­tog­ra­phy of
William Hen­ry Jackson

Please look for this book at 
your favorite pub­lic library
or used bookseller.