“I am Johannes Verne, and I am not afraid.”This was the boy’s mantra as he plodded through the desert alone, left to die by his vengeful grandfather. Johannes Verne was soon to be rescued by outlaws, but no one could save him from the lasting memory of his grandfather’s eyes, full of impenetrable hatred. Raised in part by Indians, then befriended by a mysterious woman, Johannes grew up to become a rugged adventurer and an educated man. But even now, strengthened by the love of a golden-haired girl and well on his way to making a fortune in bustling early-day Los Angeles, the past may rise up to threaten his future once more. And this time only the ancient gods of the desert can save him.
The book opens with a party of men and women on their journey to California. We meet a small six years old boy Johannes traveling with these people, with his dying father. After his father has been killed, Johannes is left all alone in the Palm Springs Desert by his cruel grandfather. This is where the real adventure starts. As he grows up, Johannes befriends this desert knowing every inch of the seemingly never-ending desert. What could be worse than the fact that his grand-dad is still alive and determined to finish Johannes off.
The pace of the book is fine but things seem to rush in the last few pages. And there's where you'll find the real shooting stuff. Apart from Johannes, the other strong character is the Miss Nesselrode, his travel companion. She's a mysterious woman who supports Johannes throughout the story. And then there's the usual lot of good guys and bad guys. And how can we forget Megan, Johannes love interest, who somewhere in the middle of the book fell for a much older man.
I sat there very still, as befitted as a boy among strangers, staring wide-eyed into a world I did not know. I was about six years old and my father was dying. (p. 1)Quotes:
Standing up, I took a step, and taking it, I gave myself to the desert, to the heat, to the thirst. I walked boldly into the desert and took step after step, my eyes upon those distant mountains, shimmering in heat waves like some weird land beyond imagination. (p. 359)
What kind of a man was I? I had told myself I was strong, that I could be brave. I had thought of myself as having character, and here I was shattered to nothing by a few words from a girl! (p. 301)
"You are history," Thomas Fraser told us. "Do not think of history as something remote that concerns only kings, queens, and generals. It concerns you..." (p. 177)
“You and your families march across the pages of history, and often he who plows a furrow is of more importance than he who leads an army. The army can destroy, the furrow can feed.” (p. 177)My Rating: