FAWN by Robert Newton Peck


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Aside from the dappled title, this deceptively sleek small novel does manage to convey not only the pristine wilderness surrounding Fort Carillon (Fort Ticonderoga) in 1758, but also the despoilation of war. When the British march on the French-held fort (the distant bagpipes buzzing like insects), Fawn, son of a Mohawk outcast mother and an ex-Jesuit Frenchman, ponders the two ways of life: that of his father (""He is clever with thought, clumsy with things"") and his deceased grandfather Old Foot from whom he learned a nerveless, watchful stoicism. Fawn steals in and around the gathering conflict, observes the doomed French and British, some Yankees, some hated Hurons, and even makes a friend (surprisingly -- and unnecessarily -- the young Benedict Arnold). His French father elects to fight or die with his countrymen but Fawn is somehow driven to rescue him. At the dose father and son meet and part from the ruins of their home, both freshly secure in their hitherto unrevealed love for one another. Peck manages to avoid for the most part the spavined speech usually set forth as early Indian, and in spite of the sentimental overlay, the story moves with ease toward a predictable (young adult) audience.

Pub Date: Feb. 7th, 1974
Publisher: Little, Brown