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Written in Blood (Desert Legends, #1)
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Written in Blood (Desert Legends #1)

3.35  ·  Rating Details  ·  40 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Set in the harsh desert world of the Arizona Territory and northern Mexico during the 1870s, Written in Blood, the first installment of the Desert Legends Trilogy, follows young Jim Doolen as he attempts to find some trace of the father who abandoned his family ten years earlier. As he travels through a scorched landscape very different from the lush West Coast forests of ...more
Paperback, 157 pages
Published October 1st 2010 by Orca Book Publishers
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141st out of 212 books — 84 voters
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Community Reviews

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In the book “Written in Blood” this 16 year old boy Jim, leaves his house in Canada on the search for his father. Jim is a very likable character and courageous in many ways. Yet going on a far trip in search for his father he is going by the clues of an old letter. When Jim’s father left at a young age he never got to grow up with the father figure he wanted. Jim has always wanted to find him and ask questions. While he is on the journey of finding his father, the trails he travels are filled w ...more
Sep 21, 2015 Cade rated it really liked it
Written in Blood takes place during the 1870's in a harsh desert in the territory of Arizona and Mexico. The story follows a young man by the name of Jim Doolen. Jim's job is to try to find traces of his father who left Jim and his mother 10 years earlier. But the journey is not as hard as it seems for one day when he was shooting his father's revolver he found a note from his father saying he left for their safety and was out north trying to solve this issue. Jim starts his journey east to Seni ...more
Patricia O'Sullivan
Jan 21, 2012 Patricia O'Sullivan rated it really liked it
It is 1877, and sixteen-year-old Jim Doolen has set out to find the father he hasn’t seen in ten years. Jim travels alone from Yale, British Columbia to Chihuahua, Mexico, encountering an array of interesting fellow-travelers along the way: a suspicious man who offers to travel with Jim, a story-telling hermit who gives Jim a new name, an Apache warrior, and a Mexican diplomat. As Jim collects stories from these men, he begins to piece together what happened to his father and gets caught up in t ...more
Dec 11, 2013 Murph rated it really liked it
Imagine you never really knew your father because he left at a very young age. You don’t know where he is or what he does. That is Jim Doolens situation in Written In Blood. Jim's father Bob Doolen left him and his mother when he was very young. Now all Jims life he’s wanted to go find his father. Then, one day he leaves home to travel to the Southwestern United States looking for his father.
Written In Blood is set in the 1870s in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. It is about a kid, Ji
Although grim, violent, and gory at times, Written in Blood is a seemingly realistic view of the Western part of the United States in the 1870's. It was a time when savagery and ruthlessness were commonplace. Young Jim Doolan is living in Yale (British Columbia, Canada) with his mom when he feels a restlessness within and decides to set out on horseback to find his father in Mexico. The elder Doolan left the family ten years prior claiming he couldn't be tied down. Yet, young Jim senses another ...more
Barbara Trimm
Jan 22, 2016 Barbara Trimm rated it really liked it
Gr. 7 up. In this western that takes place in the 1870s Jim Doolen has decided to travel from British Columbia to Mexico to search for the father who left when he was six. He meets a man who offers to travel with him only to be robbed and have his horse stolen by the stranger and his gang. Jim encounters many interesting characters including some Apaches. Written in Blood is a great adventure that reads like a classic western. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would!
Jan 20, 2011 April rated it liked it
Written in Blood
John Wilson
Orca Book Publishers

An Early Reviewer Advanced Reading Copy.
Jim Doolen travels south to Mexico in 1877 in search of his father, or at least, news of his father. Along the way he encounters characters that tell him stories. Eventually the stories connect to his search and he learns more about his missing father and himself.

Written for middle schoolers and young adults, this 187 page historical novel is full of information regarding Mexico, Apaches, and the Old West.
Diane Ferbrache
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 23, 2013 Joyce rated it liked it
Shelves: chsbc-nominee
John Wilson writes accessible historical fiction, pitched at the Gr. 7-10 level, great for reluctant reader boys. This plot doesn't move that fast. I think he's experimenting with the reinvention of the Western genre--it was so big in the 50s & 60s, but kids these days don't play 'cowboys & indians' anymore. Anyway, it's short, easy to read, pretty well-paced and a good story, but it still seems pretty long ago & far away. Although the main character is likeable, he's not compelling. ...more
Feb 16, 2012 Rachel rated it really liked it
Imagine the soundtrack to your favorite western movie then think of the dusty, wild country of the old west and you have the setting for Written in Blood, the story of 16 year old Jim Doolen. In the 1870's Jim leaves his mother and their comfortable home in Canada to search for his father, who has been missing in the Wild West for 10 years. Along the way Jim is robed by bandits, survives a gunshot wound, and meets many colorful characters who all have a story to tell. Through their stories and h ...more
This is the first Western I've added to my shelves.

Jim Doolen sets off from British Columbia to eventually across the harsh desert sands of Arizona and Mexico in the 1870s in order to find traces of the father who abandoned his family ten years earlier. He crosses paths with murderous bandits, an Apache warrior, an Indian mystic, and an ancient Mexican revolutionary. His interactions with each character each provide him with a clue to his own origins. As his family's story comes together, Jim d
Mrs. Peterson
First of a series
Sep 28, 2010 Catrina rated it liked it
It's the 1870's and 16 year old Jim Doolen is attempting to find out what happened to his father, who abandoned him and his Mother 10 years earlier. Armed with very few items, Jim makes his way from British Columbia to the Southwest following the one lead that he has.

While making his way to Mexico, Jim crosses paths with a variety of characters and he is slowly able to piece together the story of his father and their heritage.
Sarah Smith
Sep 28, 2010 Sarah Smith rated it did not like it
This Western novel features a Canadian cowboy in the 1870s looking for his long-disappeared father. Unfortunately, the pace is slow (think Elmore Leonard written by Elizabeth Kostova) and the big plot revelation will be obvious to the reader well before protagonist James Doolen catches on. Still, the pro-Indian sensibility is refreshingly handled, and Wilson steps neatly around the Western cliches.
Amanda Jaczkowski
Dec 25, 2013 Amanda Jaczkowski rated it liked it
A very well written book, aimed at an age group that doesn't often get a book solely for them: tween boys. Interestingly woven Western of a boy searching for his father and stumbling upon quite a few adventures, both helpful and dangerous, along the way.
Randy Daugherty
Dec 04, 2010 Randy Daugherty rated it really liked it
This is the Story of Jim Doolen, he travels from BC to Mexico searching for his father, he meets many interesting characters along the way and learns the importance of stories, both those of others and of his own, and learning of the story of his father learns of his past and the way of his future.
Sep 07, 2015 Irene rated it it was amazing
Excellent young adult book for guys reads.... ist a trilogy about the wild west.
Jan 28, 2013 Ann marked it as to-read
Top Ten Westerns for Youth 1012 (Booklist)
Nancy H
Mar 03, 2012 Nancy H rated it really liked it
A great read for YAs who like westerns.
Jan 26, 2011 Jeff added it
good but short
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Other Books in the Series

Desert Legends (3 books)
  • Ghost Moon (Desert Legends, #2)
  • Victorio's War (Desert Legends, #3)

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