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The APPRENTICESHIP OF NIGEL BLACKTHORN is a coming-of-age story set in the American West of 1853. The story relates the adventures of a thirteen-year-old English boy whose missionary parents came to convert the wild heathens to the way of Christ.
Comanches slaughter Reverend John Blackthorn and his family before he preaches one word.
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Author Spotlight: Frank Coombs
Frank Kelso creates his stories from historical events. His favorite WEB site is the Texas State Historical Association. Frank’s short stories have been finalists in Florida Writers Assn’s Royal Palm Awards. Frank had 2 short stories accepted in a Call for Submission for a collection of western short stories published in The Posse. The novel California Bound describes a period of lawlessness along Rio Grande that followed the Civil War. Frank co-authored the novel with his publisher, John O’Melveny Woods. California Bound relates the story of two men, Jeb and Zach, who after release from a Union POW camp, decide to seek the fortune in California gold fields. The road west leads through Texas where Jeb’s sister lives. The men find a border war raging along the Rio, and even worse, Jeb’s sister is dead and his niece kidnapped. The adventure begins.
In Frank’s first novel, The Apprenticeship of Nigel Blackstone, a missionary family travels from England to the American West in 1953. Comanches slaughter Reverend John Blackthorn and his family before he preaches one word. Nigel survives by following his mother’s advice to hide in a hollow tree. Nigel prays for God to send help, but Pascal LeBrun, a roaming muleteer, rides to the smoke of the burning wagons to find Nigel.
Plump, lazy, and spoiled, Nigel enters an unwelcome new world–work or starve. He finds survival is the way of life on the prairie. Worse yet, English is a little used third language. Two hundred miles later, when the mule train reaches the first white settlement, Pascal gives Nigel a choice: enter an orphanage, or enter an apprenticeship on the mule train for a piddling wage.
Years later, Nigel wonders if the orphanage would have been easier.