Death on the River

Front Cover
Orca Book Publishers, Oct 1, 2009 - Juvenile Fiction - 208 pages
7 Reviews
Set during the last year of the American Civil War, this grim portrayal of the brutality of war through the eyes of a young soldier, Jake Clay as he joins the Union Army in the spring of 1864, determined to make his parents proud. His dreams of glory vanish, however, when he is wounded and taken prisoner in his first battle at Cold Harbor, Virginia, and confined to the Confederate prison camp at Andersonville, where 30,000 soldiers face violence, disease and starvation. Frightened and disillusioned, Jake takes up with Billy Sharp, an unscrupulous opportunist who shows him how to survive, no matter what the cost. By the war's end Jake's sleep is haunted by the ghosts of those who have died so he could live. When the camp is liberated, Jake and Billy head north on the Mississippi riverboat Sultana, overcrowded far beyond its capacity. Unknown to Jake, the fateful journey up river will come closer to killing him than Andersonville did, but it will also provide him with his one chance at redemption.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
2
4 stars
4
3 stars
1
2 stars
0
1 star
0

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ElizaJane - LibraryThing

Reason for Reading: John Wilson is a Canadian author whom I have read a few books of and enjoyed. I also enjoy reading Civil War historical fiction. This is a dark, merciless book which shows one side ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mosylu1 - LibraryThing

Jake Clay has already lost the naivete that took him into the Civil War, but when he lands at Andersonville, he learns that there's much more to lose. When he falls in with Billy Sharp, the two of ... Read full review

Other editions - View all

About the author (2009)

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, John Wilson grew up on the Isle of Skye and outside Glasgow without the slightest idea that he would ever write books. After a degree in Geology from St. Andrews University, he worked in Zimbabwe and Alberta before taking up writing full-time and moving out to Lantzville on Vancouver Island in 1991. John is addicted to history and firmly believes that the past must have been just as exciting, confusing and complex to those who lived through it as our world is to us. Every one of his seventeen novels and six non-fiction books for kids, teens and adults deals with the past. His tales involve intelligent dinosaurs, angry socialist coal miners, confused boys caught up in the First and Second World Wars, and the terrors faced by lost Arctic explorers. John spends significant portions of his year travelling across the country telling stories from his books and their historical background and getting young readers (particularly but not exclusively boys) energized and wanting to read and find out more about the past.

Bibliographic information