News of the World

Hardcover - English

By Jiles, Paulette        

ISBN: 0062409204

EAN: 9780062409201

Publisher: WILLIAM MORROW & CO

Publication Date: 04/10/2016

Pages: 224

Age Group: NA to NA

Grades: Not Applicable to Not Applicable

Lexile Level: 0

Awards:

National Book Award Finalist--Fiction

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember--strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become--in the eyes of the law--a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

...

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd drifts through northern Texas, performing live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world--of the Irish pouring into New York City, of the railroad driving into the new state of Nebraska, of an eruption of Popocatepetl near Mexico City. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain once made his living as a printer, until the War Between the States took his press and everything with it. Now, at seventy-one, he enjoys the freedom of the road, even if his body aches and money is scarce.

At a stop in Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is offered a fifty-dollar gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders viciously killed Johanna Leonberger's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as their own. Recently recovered by the U.S. Army, the ten-year-old with blue eyes and hair the color of maple sugar has once again been torn away from the only home and family she knows. The captain's sense of duty and of compassion propels him to accept, though he knows the journey will be long and difficult.

Winding through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain, the four-hundred-mile odyssey south proves dangerous as well. A corrupt Reconstruction administration runs the state government, and anarchy and lawlessness have taken hold. The captain must watch for thieves, Comanches and Kiowas, and the federal army--and corral the wild Johanna. Small and thin, the despondent child has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the wary Johanna slowly draws closer to the man she calls "Kep-dun," and the two lonely survivors forge a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

But in San Antonio another hurdle awaits, one that will force this respectable man to make a terrible choice that will determine Johanna's fate--and his own.

Unfolding in gorgeous prose, News of the World is a vivid portrait that captures a beautiful and hostile land, and a masterful eploration of the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

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