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Road to Reckoning

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  381 Ratings  ·  105 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 ☔
Nov 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 *trains 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.
Dec 13, 2013 marked it as to-read

surely you are mistaken, netgalley....
Courtney Maum
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing

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
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
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
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
4 1/2 stars. The narrative and voice in this book is absolutely amazing. It brings to mind other stories like True Grit or the Sister Brothers in the best ways possible. Lautner brings the emotional pull out of this story like very few writers can, making you actually feel what the character's feel. The atmosphere and characters of Henry Stands and Thomas Walker stay with you long after the story ends. This is a gritty and heart-felt tale like very few in the genre!
Larry H
Jan 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
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
Jenn Ravey
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
*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
Sid Nuncius
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed this book very much. It is extremely well written and a gripping story.

The story is narrated by an older Thomas Walker, telling the story of a journey he made the age of twelve in 1837. Eventually left alone on the trail, it is the story of his perilous journey home and of the things and people he encounters. To say more would act as more of a spoiler than I would have wanted before reading the book, but the tale, though simple-seeming, is a truly gripping one with a cast of beautifull
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
Apr 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Paul Pessolano
Jan 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
“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
Bethany (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.


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
Jan 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
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
Ronald Roseborough
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: won-or-blagged
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.
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Laura by: ARC FROM PUBL
I hate to say it, but this would make a great movie. What a fine change of pace from my usual reading.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I bought this book for $1. I am glad I didn't pay "new book price" for it. Because it is a thin book, short story and not the sort of stuff I normally read.

However, once I got used to the writers style, I got right into it and really wanted to know how it ended. I had this book in my bag for smooth bus rides or lonely work-breaks and it was a good book for such occasions.

The main character describes a certain ecent of his life and I think I would have liked the book to be longer. But instead of
Brett Crumley
I received my copy for free in a Goodreads Giveaway

This review contains spoilers. As the book is superb, I recommend you do not read my review unless the summary in the following paragraph does not entice you at all, and you think I am unlikely to persuade you to read The Road to Reckoning.

The Road to Reckoning by Robert Lautner follows a young boy through Eastern USA early in the nineteenth century. The boy, Tom Walker, is written with remarkable characterisation. He adventures with his father
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A 12 year old boy seeking to find his way home following the death of his fatherin 1830s Eastern USA. It didn't say in my proof copy that this was aimed at YAs although it did feel a bit light. However, It could be read by anyone who likes an adventre. My hubs read it an loved it (he who does not "do" fiction). It's short, just over 200 pages, and yes, it reminded me a bit of True Grit, and I really enjoyed it.
Ann Kennedy
Nov 30, 2016 rated it liked it
This is our December book club selection. Real long time since I've read a western. This is also a coming-of-age story, with well developed characters & some surprising developments. A good story that was well written.
Newt Taylor
Aug 09, 2017 rated it liked it
If you're interested in a literary crime novel set in the 1800s, Paulette Jiles' News of the World is superior to Robert Lautner's effort.
Jake Hainey
Apr 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
A good western, adventure, and coming of age story. Started out a little slow, but picked up once Henry entered the story. I love a young protagonist, so I enjoyed the narration by Thomas and his growing bond with Henry as they travelled cross country with bad guys on their heels. Recommend this for fans of True Grit.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads, reviewed
My rating: 2.5.

I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

The Road to Reckoning is British author Robert Lautner’s debut western-style novel. Set in the 1830s it follows a young boy’s long journey home through the open lands of America.

Tom Walker, now an elderly (or so it suggests) man, is giving an account of what happened to him during the year 1837 when “my life began” at the age of twelve. Tom’s father was a salesman who often let his son accompany him on his trips to sell s
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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.
More about Robert Lautner...
“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.” 5 likes
“When a man is on the road to power he buys everyone a drink. Once elected he tries to close the saloons.” 4 likes
More quotes…