Kirkus Reviews QR Code
THE ADVENTUROUS DEEDS OF DEADWOOD JONES by Helen Hemphill

THE ADVENTUROUS DEEDS OF DEADWOOD JONES

By Helen Hemphill

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-59078-637-6
Publisher: Front Street/Boyds Mills

In the tradition of Nat Love comes a fictional black cowpoke, Prometheus Jones, and his best buddy, Omer Shine, escaping from a lynch mob in Tennessee to a Kansas cattle drive on its way to the Dakota Territory during the chaotic years following the end of the Civil War. Prometheus is anxious to get to Texas where clues about his missing father lead him, but he sees the advantages of throwing in with Beck, the drover in charge of the cattle herd. Not that he knows much about cattle, but he can break almost any horse and is determined to learn. The adventures are nonstop, with mentions of Custer and warring Pawnee and Sioux Indians adding to the excitement and danger of buffalo stampedes and river crossings. While most of the characters enjoy three-dimensional treatment, the Indians come across as insubstantial by comparison, demonstrating the difficulties in accurately reflecting attitudes of the day in light of present-day awareness. The prejudice against blacks remains threatening and constant, and Prometheus’s transformation into Deadwood is convincing, even when insurmountable odds seem stacked against him. (Historical fiction. 10-12)