Wild Cat Ridge (e)
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“Far back in the mountains of east Tennessee, in the Over Hill country, there is the town of Glen Hazard.” So begins this story of three friends, Dale Gillow, Sadler Jones and Vester Lane—boys just set free from school and ready for summer fun and adventure. Nearly fifteen, Dale has both a mind for thinking a thing out and hands that are clever at fixing and creating. By age and personality, he is the leader. Vester, younger by a year, has a knack for acting before he thinks—thus giving plenty of scope for Dale’s command skills. Sadler is twelve and though bookish and more timid, he nonetheless faithfully follows the others wherever they go. The hound Rock Bottom, with his “quiet, sensible eyes and foolish stump of a tail,” rounds out the band, though Dale’s 8-year-old sister Beth includes herself whenever she can.
Vague summer plans of hunting for treasure suddenly turn into the real thing when Dale’s Grandpa Gillow reminds him of the story of the unrecovered silver that their ancestor, a Boston silversmith and friend of Paul Revere, had once had to conceal somewhere nearby. Marty Morgan, a “poorlander boy” wistful of being friends with the boys, knows something that he cannot tell. He finds himself caught between loyalty to his boss, Squirrel Misery—the most dangerous man in the mountains—and a genuine desire to protect the boys from inadvertently crossing Squirrel in their headlong search for the lost silver.
This husband and wife team (writing under Maristan Chapman, a combination of their two names), through a deft, accessible use of mountain idiom, opens up for the modern reader the richness of Tennessee mountain life and culture in the early twentieth century. At the same time, they capture the timeless excitement of adventurous, determined boys ready for anything!
Original Book: 233 pages
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