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Road to Reckoning: A Novel

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  247 ratings  ·  81 reviews
With taut prose and a swift plot, this literary crime novel set in 1800s Pennsylvania captures the unlikely friendship between a spirited young boy and a gruff ex-ranger on a shared quest for vengeance.

Twelve-year-old Thomas Walker has never left New York City. His father, a traveling salesman hoping to earn money by selling Samuel Colt’s recent invention, the “Improved Re
Hardcover, 237 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Touchstone (first published January 30th 2014)
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Diane S.
3.5 A wonderful return to the old time western, this takes place in the 1830's and starts in Pennsylvania. twelve year old Thomas and his father are left alone after the death of his mother when they meet Mister Colt, the man who wants to change the West with his new Colt firearm. Henry's father agrees to travel West and to sell this firearm, earning a commission on every sale. AS Thomas says, they never make it.

So this wonderful story of a father and son turns into a story of revenge, of friend
Shelby *wants some flying monkeys*
DNF'd at 50%

I'm not rating this one because I don't think it's a horrible book. I just can't get interested in it right now.
I think this one is a case of it's not you it's me.
Aug 22, 2014 karen marked it as to-read

surely you are mistaken, netgalley....
I thought I would give this a try since it is an almost western written by an Englishman. It felt pretty authentic to me. The narrator was an older man telling the story of his youthful trek to the west to sell Henry Colt's first gun to the settlers. The west being in this instance Pennsylvania or Indiana. The writing was of that vague not quite concrete type, sort of a reproduction of the style of that time. The characters were vivid. The places and happenings were very vivid also. Worth the re ...more

Road To Reckoning by Robert Lautner

This story takes place in 1837. Twelve year old Thomas Walker
resides in New York. His father, a salesman by trade, catches wind of a new invention by a Samuel Colt. Calling it the "Improved Revolving Gun", the Patent Arms Manufacturing Company signs on the marketer as commission work. Excited to lift the financial burden off his family, the duo begin to travel west bringing along a wooden replica and a dozen of the original guns. As the journey becomes farthe
Courtney Maum
Believe me when I say that you haven't read a narrative voice like this in a long time, so get the heck out there and read it.

This is like the carpaccio of westerns-- no fat at all. Economical in the telling but with a knock-you-down punch. Not a genre I usually read but I was really glad I did. One of the most interesting (as in "different") books I've read in a long time.
Paul Pessolano
“Road to Reckoning” by Robert Lautner, published by Touchstone Books.

Category – Western Publication Date – February 04, 2014.

If you are looking for a good western that borders on Fiction/Literature you should really try “Road to Reckoning”. If you liked the movie or book “True Grit” you will really enjoy this novel. The characters resemble, in some way, the main characters in “True Grit”. Thomas Walker, a twelve year old boy, can be likened to Mattie, and Henry Stands is a mirror image of Rooste
New York 1837. Twelve year old Thomas Walker sets off on what he thinks will be a grand adventure as he accompanies his salesman father on his mission to sell Samuel Colt's new revolver. They don't intend to venture too far west, just as far as Indiana and Illinois. Unfortunately Thomas is separated from his father and forced to make his way back East alone. Enter craggy Indiana Ranger, Henry Stands (a cross between John Wayne and Lee Marvin)who may or may not deign to help young Thomas.

I absolu
Feb 01, 2014 Sara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: obp
A remarkable first novel far outside the vein of my regular reading. Dickensian and, obviously, reminiscent of True Grit, this book will appeal to a wide variety of readers. A unique new voice in fiction!
Now this I enjoyed. A real rough, gritty western set in the early 1800s, when men were of few words, looked after themselves and lived by the gun. Not that I'm an American or an expert on this time period, but I really felt like he'd captured the voice and the spirit of the time.

Thomas Walker, young lad from New York, goes on a journey with his father to sell this new fangled pistol, a colt, to shop owners across the country. Merryly trotting out with the horse and cart, assuming of the goodness
Young Thomas Walker is living with his aunt while his father goes about New York selling spectacles. His mother has died and his aunt is trying to educate him as she thinks is best. The country is experiencing some financial difficulties so the commissions are not coming as they once were and so his father takes a chance on selling something new. Very new - a gun with a revolving barrel from an inventor by the name of Samuel Colt. They set off to take orders for this gun will not be produced one ...more
Emma-sophia (thelittlebookblog)
I won this book in a First-Reads Giveaway

I am going to come straight out with it, I was disappointed with this book. I know it's a proof copy but i hated the cover, so we didn't get off to the best of starts. When I read the summary of the book I thought it promised an engaging storyline with twist and turns all the way through. When I recieved the book I realised that it was too short to have all the twists and turns, which is fine, I am the last person to comment on the length of the book.

Roy Elmer
Robert Lautner is from Middlesex, a leafy little corner of England. You wouldn't know it from reading this. It reads like a bonefide American classic, akin to True Grit or Lonesome Dove. The atmosphere that Lautner has created is a fine representation of the period, and of the place, and it is a genuinely passable effort at an Englishman writing a western.

Thomas Walker, twelve, of New York, sees and experiences some horrific things on his journey west to sell Colt's revolver with his father. We
I received an Advance Reader's copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

I was excited to read this book when I saw that it was being compared to True Grit, which I absolutely love. In terms of plot, the two books do have a lot in common (1800s United States, preteen kid sets out to avenge father's murder, teams up with surly older man who tries to ditch her/him throughout the book). However, try as I did to like Road to Reckoning, I just couldn't.

Part of my problem with Road to Reckoning i
Jenn Ravey
*I received this ebook from the publisher Touchstone in exchange for an honest review.

Thomas Walker is 12 when his father decides to venture out West to sell Samuel Colt’s Improved Revolving Gun. But a mere three days into the journey, Walker’s father is shot dead, and Thomas is left to find his way home with nothing but a gelding, a wagon, and a wooden model gun for protection. He encounters Henry Stands, a former ranger who reluctantly takes on responsibility for Thomas as they make their way
Larry Hoffer
I'd give this 4.5 stars.

Full disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.

"I, to this day, hold to only one truth: if a man chooses to carry a gun he will get shot. My father agreed to carry twelve."

Thomas Walker is 12 years in 1837. An only child, he has lived a sheltered life, never leaving New York City, and following the death of his mother, he is homeschooled by his aunt and doesn't get the opportunity to interact with children his age. But when his

ARC from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.

Though set in 1837 northern Pennsylvania, this is in the spirit of a true western, during a time when much of rural Pennsylvania was still wild and lawless. Twelve year old Thomas Walker sets out from New York City with his father to sell a new Colt revolver but they hardly make it beyond Milton, PA, just shy of central Pennsylvania, before his father is murdered by a lawless and violent man. In his
Ronald Roseborough
Give me more from this author. Robert Lautner has crafted a compelling tale of a young boy who lives through a lifetime of experiences in a week. Thomas, not yet in his teen years, has lost his mother to smallpox. His father is trying to make a living selling spectacles in New York during the depression of the early eighteen hundreds. In the hopes of making a better living his father takes a job as a salesman for the recently patented Colt revolver. Thomas and his father head into the sparsely s ...more
One to watch for 2014, this is a dramatic story centred around an unlikely friendship. Thomas Walker is left alone in the wilderness of North America after his father, a travelling gun salesman, is murdered by a group of robbers. His attempts to seek justice, and to return home are aided by a ranger Henry Sands; a character who wouldn't be out of place in the writing of Elmore Leonard. The use of an adult Thomas as narrator allows the reader to be clearly shown everything that the twelve year ol ...more
Road To Reckoning is not to be missed. This is western at it's finest, I promise you that. It's the story of a young boy who goes off into the country with his father to sell the first colt revolver. Soon, the boy finds himself alone and seeking vengeance.

He meets a ex-ranger who he forms a partnership with, and therefore enter the Road To Reckoning. The novel was fast paced and very well written. Loved every second of it. It reminded me a lot of True Grit.

* I won this book for free through th
Jake Hainey
For more reviews be sure to check out
This book was given to me through a GoodReads giveaway.

When his salesman father agrees to carry a case of Samuel Colt’s patented revolving pistols, young Thomas Walker is carted off on a trip across the country to bring the new technology to the masses.
When things go awry he must enlist the help of the gruff bounty hunter Henry Stands to help him find his way home, and protect him along the way.

I couldn’t stop reading this o
Luanne Ollivier

It was the cover blurb on the cover of Robert Lautner's book, Road to Reckoning, that compelled me to pick it up....."Those who love True Grit will love this."

1837 New York City. Thomas Walker and his father (formerly a spectacle salesman) strike out on the road West to sell a new product - guns. Specifically, Samuel Colt's new improved 'revolving gun'. They have samples to show and Thomas has a wooden replica as well. Walker Sr. is a gentle man, not one overly familiar with guns or violen
Twelve year old Thomas Walker heads out on the road with his father, a travelling salesman peddling a new gun, the Colt Revolver. A chance encounter with a dangerous outlaw leaves Thomas alone after his father is shot. He must find his way home alone.

Henry Stands is a former ranger who reluctantly finds himself burdened with Thomas as he leads the boy home. But Thomas is bent on revenging his father’s death, and it is this desire that continually draws Henry into the conflict.

Told through the po
Douglas Lord
Though the style and dialog of this takes a little getting used to, those pushing through the first ten pages or so will be rewarded with an interesting tale from an unusual era—1837 westward expansion. Thomas Walker, 12, lives with his father in New York City. He’s remarkably mature, probably like most adolescents then, so when his father takes a job as a traveling salesman for the brand-new Colt revolver company selling the “Improved Revolving Gun,” Thomas tags along to help out. Soon after em ...more
Set in the early 19th century, The Road To Reckoning takes us on a trip to the American frontier. Thomas Walker and his father make their way from New York to Pennsylvania and as I’ve never traveled that road, I had problems imagining the landscape that surrounded Thomas on his adventure. Too often, my mind created Wild West scenes where the woods and meadows of Pennsylvania should have been.

Twelve-year-old Thomas Walker is the main character in The Road To Reckoning. By letting the adult Thomas
Andy Weston
Although a classic story of revenge in the Wild West this is beautifully written, and by an Englishman. It is the story of a 12 year old boy who is orphaned and reluctantly taken on by an ageing cowboy, a real hero and role model. There is humour, and parts are haunting, especially the unwise visit to the hut in the woods.

I read this while cycling down the Great Divide in Montana and Wyoming, along the route the Pony Express took, so I had plenty of atmosphere.
Lautner succeeds in providing a l
I don’t usually read westerns, so I was looking forward to reading this and trying a new genre. It’s the story of young Thomas Walker, who has to try to find his way back home after his father is killed by a group of outlaws whilst travelling west to sell a new type of gun. He falls in with Henry Stands, who is your typical tough, macho, ex-military type – the kind of character that Ray Winstone would play in a film – and they try to get back home together, with various adventures and mishaps al ...more
I originally read Road to Reckoning because I thought it would be interesting to read of the birth of the revolver, even if from a fictional standpoint. That portion of the novel was very interesting and caught my eye but it was the characters that drew me in.

Even though told as an old man, I enjoyed hearing the story from a twelve year old point of view and saw Thomas grow up before his time, with the tragedies he faces, whether it be the threat of asylum of running for his life by a man with
This is a proper old-fashioned adventure yarn and I loved it. Populated by a cast of strong characters, vividly realised, you can taste the Wild West on every page.

There aren't many of my books that my husband will read, but I've sneaked this one onto his pile - I reckon he will enjoy it. Looking forward to whatever Robert Lautner writes next.
Boy I sure do love me a good Western! I'm such an old man... In the style of True Grit, this is a coming-of-age story about a young boy who finds himself being escorted cross-country by an old ex-ranger. Henry Stands, the ex-ranger, is grudging, unwilling, curmudgeonly, and ultimately has a strong sense of duty and honor that is stronger than his loner tendencies. I know there is nothing here that hasn't been written before, but I was taken with the language. It was rough around the corners and ...more
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Robert Lautner was born in Middlesex in 1970. Before becoming a writer he owned his own comic-book store, worked as a wine merchant, photographic consultant and recruitment consultant. He now lives on the Pembrokeshire coast in a wooden cabin with his wife and children.
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“I, to this day, hold to only one truth: if a man chooses to carry a gun he will get shot. My father agreed to carry twelve.” 3 likes
“When a man is on the road to power he buys everyone a drink. Once elected he tries to close the saloons.” 2 likes
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