Last Renegade - Kearby

  chap1 illustration.jpgThe Last Renegade.  By Mike Kearby.  Austin:  Trail's End Books, 2008.  paperback, illus, 180 pages.  ISBN 9780978842291 $14.95. Ages 14 and up.  http://www.mikekearby.us/


Mike Kearby brings young readers another well- paced Western novel set in South Texas 1877.  Codified retributive justice is first found in Hammurabi's Code from the ancient Mesopotamia river valleys – "an eye for an eye."  But here the story involves a couple of young boys and a girl and a dog.

Young-Man-Listens, a nine-year old Comanche, is captured by slavers and sold to a travelling circus where the nefarious Shelly McDuff cages him and bills him to gawkers as "The Last Renegade – Chief Raging Bull" for two years.  Then the show rolls into Sheriff Miller's Territory.  Miller's eleven-year-old son, Jake, immediately sees through the injustice of the imprisonment and sets the young Comanche free whereupon the two plus Marty scat on a trail of hiding, hunting, capture, a fight (partially aided by Walter the dog), and ultimate salvation by Jake's father.  Young-Man-Listens eventually relents on the impulse of worst vengeance and rides off toward home in Oklahoma.   A side plot that finally weaves it way in is about the scarcity of water and a new spring on the Miller's land that triggers a greedy plot of multiple murders.

Mack White's illustrations seem influenced by Nast cartoons and Hank the Cowdog.


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