Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Review: Ponies for My Father, by Charles Beaver

Ponies For My Father, by Charles Beaver

Paperback: 364 pages
Publisher: Outskirts Press (July 14, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1432757962
Rating (1 to 5 *): ****

Ponies for My Father Review

Sly Fox had a lot to overcome: he was very small for his age--too small to be a warrior like his father--and he was born at the same moment that his older brother was killed by a horse their father brought to the village. However, instead of letting that get him down, he rose to the challenge. He invented a weapon even he could wield, he learned he was an incredibly talented scout, and he did everything he could to try to make his father proud of him.

Sly Fox has several years before most would consider him a man, but that doesn't stop him from following the instructions given to him by Wakan Tanka, the Great Spirit, to travel far away to enemy territory and recover ponies his father's band badly needs. His people are in trouble, and somehow this young scout must help his father to save them.

Ponies for My Father is not a children's story, nor is it a story about a child. It is a love story, an adventure story, and a story about politics. As the leaders of various Lakota bands jockey for power, they must also protect their people from their enemy tribes who would do them harm.

Ponies for My Father is another one of those stories that makes me wonder why I don't read more historical fiction. It is a long and meandering tale, and there were times when I wondered if it was all necessary, but all the threads got tied in and I finished the book feeling satisfied...and a little sad that I had to leave the characters behind.

Author Charles Beaver obviously put a lot of time and research into Ponies for My Father. Although I'm not educated enough to comment on the historical accuracy, it seems credible, and the story is so good, in my opinion, that I'm not worried about it. I do have to say that there are some mechanical problems--grammar, a couple of inconsistencies and redundancies--that should have been caught in editing. However, I managed to look past that and thoroughly enjoy the book. The characters are fun people you wish you knew or could be like, the story is interesting, the emotions are real, and Charles Beaver's voice is engaging. A fascinating trip back in time!

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