Bos­ton’s stun­ningly vivid work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion

Gulf Times Community - - SHOWBIZ - By Al­li­son Chopin

The award-win­ning au­thor and cult sen­sa­tion, Bos­ton Teran, who keeps his real iden­tity a se­cret, is back with the thrilling and thought-pro­vok­ing new book, A Child Went Forth. The book opens with 13-year-old Charle­magne Grif­fin Char­lie and his fa­ther in New York in 1851, ap­peal­ing to cler­gy­man Henry Ward Beecher (brother of the Un­cle Tom’s Cabin au­thor) to raise money for the abo­li­tion­ist cause in Kansas.

Char­lie and his fa­ther Zacharia are con men, and they make away with $4,000 hid­den in the boy’s coat and no in­ten­tion of turn­ing these do­na­tions over to the cause. And with that, the book is off to an ex­cit­ing start.

Then Zacharia is shot dead, leav­ing young Char­lie to make their planned jour­ney alone, to re­unite with his mother in an asy­lum in Cincin­nati. But find­ing his mother in no con­di­tion to leave, and with guilt creep­ing in over the ill-got­ten money he’s car­ry­ing, Char­lie sees only one path for­ward - to meet up with the abo­li­tion­ists in Kansas and do the right thing.

Char­lie’s odyssey is an epic one, through free and slave states, be­ing kid­napped and al­most sold into slav­ery him­self, and en­coun­ter­ing a stun­ning cast of char­ac­ters both his­tor­i­cal and richly dreamed up by Teran.

There’s the leg­endary un­der­taker and Un­der­ground Rail­road smug­gler Eras­tus Eels, the flam­boy­ant mil­lion­aire and freestater But­ler Phillips, and his ri­val, the mur­der­ous Dixie Jack. Walt Whit­man even makes a cameo. Mean­while, Char­lie is still be­ing hunted across the coun­try by the men who killed his fa­ther and want his money.

A Child Went Forth is en­gross­ing from the be­gin­ning, set­ting up high stakes and dire cir­cum­stances for Char­lie and ev­ery­one he meets along the way. His jour­ney me­an­der just a bit at first, with a long train ride out of New York, but then it picks up pace and doesn’t re­lent.

Teran’s style is en­thralling, show­ing us the world through Char­lie’s eyes and in the col­lo­quial, fre­quently hu­mor­ous voice of a young boy raised by a con man.

Aside from the ad­ven­ture fac­tor, Teran also takes a unique look at this time pe­riod in Amer­ica, with cor­rup­tion, race re­la­tions, mat­ters of faith and all-out vi­o­lence and law­less­ness com­ing to a head in the Mid­west in the years be­fore the Civil War. And amidst all the drama and dan­ger, this story is re­ally a com­ing-of-age tale.

Many fans have spec­u­lated about the true iden­tity of au­thor Bos­ton Teran, and whether he’s a well-known writer us­ing a pseu­do­nym, or per­haps a group of writ­ers, or a woman. But who­ever he/or she is, this lat­est book is a stun­ningly vivid work of his­tor­i­cal fic­tion that adds to an al­ready cel­e­brated ca­reer. – New York Daily News/TNS

GROUP: Guests and speak­ers in a group photo.

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