Bear Claws Reviewed by Railroad History Magazine

RR History 2016Railroad History, the journal of the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society, reviewed Bear Claws, The Iron Horse Chronicles–Book Two, in its Spring-Summer 2016 issue, Number 214. In my post of November 9, 2015, I wrote about Railroad History’s review of Eagle Talons, the first book in the trilogy. You can access that post by clicking on the Archives section in the sidebar. The review of Bear Claws was written by Robert Butler of Shaker Heights, Ohio. He also wrote the review of Eagle Talons. Because many of the readers of my blog will not have access to Railroad History, I will copy his review here. I am grateful to Mr. Butler for both fine reviews.

“Bear Claws is the second book of a planned trilogy for young-adult readers that recounts the fictional adventures and mishaps of 15-year-old William Braddock.

The first book in this series, Eagle Talons (reviewed in Railroad History 213, Fall-Winter 2014), chronicles Will’s transformation from runaway to game scout on the Union Pacific in 1867. The second book, Bear Claws, opens in March 1868 with Will and the other members of his survey team in dire straits. They are ill and on the verge of starving. Additionally, they are precariously camped in tents under the overhang of a cliff during a severe snowstorm. Will’s uncle, Sean Corcoran, had remained healthy and set out one week earlier to find food and help, 15 miles away, at the Bridger Pass Station.

Since Sean had not returned, Will, who had recovered, decides to hunt for game. He straps on snowshoes and follows the survey stakes back to the North Platte River and into another series of adventures, which takes him from Wyoming to Utah to California and back.

Along the way, he rescues a German count from a bear attack and foils various nefarious plans of his nemesis Paddy O’Hannigan. He also becomes friends with a Chinese tea boy working for one of the Celestial teams on the Central Pacific, rescues a fallen woman and returns her to her family, meets the grand-niece of Sacajawea, fends off an Indian attack while riding shotgun on a Wells Fargo stagecoach, and interacts with almost every person of historical importance associated with the building of the transcontinental railroad on both the UP and CP railroads.

The second volume mirrors the construct of the first. The author has maintained his accuracy with respect to historical facts and figures and maximized the number of Will’s adventures. This book may appeal to young adults who enjoy reading action adventures.”

—Robert Butler, Shaker Heights, Ohio

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