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Written in Blood
By author: John Wilson
Selling Points: "coming of age, search for identity, family"
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Pub Date: Oct/01/2010
Lexile Level: 870L
Pages: 176
Fiction Ages 12+
Price:  $12.95
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I stare over my fire to the west, across the desert plain I crossed today, at the barely discernable black outline of the mountains where I camped last night. The tiny flickering campfire out on the plain is the only light. Every night for the past five days I have seen this fire as darkness falls. There is probably a man sitting by it looking up at the light of my fire. Who is he?

Set in the harsh desert world of the Arizona Territory and northern Mexico during the 1870s, Written in Blood, the first installment of the Desert Legends Trilogy, follows young Jim Doolen as he attempts to find some trace of the father who abandoned his family ten years earlier. As he travels through a scorched landscape very different from the lush West Coast forests of his home, Jim crosses paths with an assortment of intriguing characters, including an Apache warrior, a cave-dwelling mystic, an old Mexican revolutionary and a mysterious cowboy. And with each encounter he learns something more of the strange world he has entered and adds one more link in a chain that leads back to his father-and back to a dark, violent past. As his story approaches its thrilling conclusion in a ruined Mexican hacienda, Jim comes to realize that his father's life was much more complex than he had imagined, and that, in discovering his past, he has opened the way to his future. - May 1, 2012
"Wilson is a talented writer, hooking readers within the first few pages of his novel and carrying them along almost effortlessly through the barren lands of Mexico and the Arizona Territory...This first installation is a perfect beginning to what is sure to be an enthralling trilogy that will invite young people into an older world with incredibly relevant contemporary themes."
School Library Journal - April 1, 2011
"The tensions among American, Mexican, and Native factions are well drawn, and Wilson pulls no punches regarding the cruelty of the new world into which Jim finds himself thrown."
Tri State YA Book Review Committee - January 1, 2011
"The story is very well written and will appeal to young readers, especially boys. It is full of tension and adventure...Recommended."
Resource Links - December 1, 2010
"Those readers of westerns and historical adventure who like a mix of action and information (actually quite a large set of readers) will be very taken with this book."
CM Magazine - November 26, 2010
"Has all the markers of a classic Western...Wilson's writing is vivid."
Booklist - November 15, 2010
"Told in a terse, present-tense narrative, James' adventures will thrill all fans of traditional pulp-style oaters."
Kirkus Reviews - October 1, 2010
"Chapters are short and action filled, Jim is a likable character and reluctant readers will find this to be a fast-paced, easy-to-swallow tale of the Old West."


TriState YA Review Group Book of Note, commended  US  2011
CCBC Best Books, commended  CA  2012
Stellar Award nominee, short-listed  CA  2013

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