LOSTMAN'S RIVER by Cynthia DeFelice


Age Range: 10 - 14
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 Years ago, Tyler's pa woke from a drunken stupor next to a dead man and, afraid he'd be convicted of a murder he didn't commit, changed his name and moved his wife and son from New York to the Everglades. Now, in 1906, Tyler is 13, a gifted artist who cares deeply for the region's already-endangered wildlife. ``Plumers'' have recently killed a warden assigned to protect egrets and other species threatened by rapacious hunters gathering their fashionable plumage. When long-winded Mr. Strawbridge of Philadelphia turns up seeking help in what he describes as scientific work, Tyler signs on; his family needs the money and he's glad to draw the pictures Strawbridge praises. But Tyler is quickly disillusioned; like Audubon, this naturalist shoots birds to study them. Sure that the wilderness is destined for annihilation, he aims to preserve specimens for museums; without scruple, he forces Tyler to lead him to a nesting place shown him, on trust, by a Seminole friend. Naãve when it comes to the local situation, Strawbridge loses his life in a terrifying encounter with the plumers; Tyler escapes, but the incident causes Pa to face up to his past and return to New York. This is easily the author's best novel since Weasel (1990), with strong, vividly evoked characters caught up in taut events that make a potent vehicle for a contemporay message illuminated by its historical setting. Author's note. (Fiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-726466-1
Page count: 160pp
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1994


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