Eight historical adventure novels in a special four volume collection
During the eighteenth century the American frontier traversed the eastern woodlands, mountains and lakes of the continent. The 'flaming border' was a hostile land populated by the tribes of the Shawnees, Wyandots, Delaware's and others—fierce warrior peoples determined to maintain their dominance to stem the encroachment of the early European pioneers. These settlers were a new people, determined to cut back the wilderness, to create communities and farm the fertile soil. Ever since the 'white man' had set foot in the New World the dispute had raged in seemingly endless bloodshed. The French and their Indian allies had fought and lost their bid for the continent, but still the war between 'white' and 'red' raged. The border moved inexorably Westward and the land about the great Ohio and Mississippi Rivers was where the struggle would continue. Among the vanguard of the white men were intrepid backwoodsmen, scouts, trappers, hunters and those who—for adventure or vengeance—brought the fight to their Indian and renegade foes. Among these are this series' principal characters, Henry Ware, Paul Cotter and their companions. These novels by Joseph Altsheler—sometimes referred to as 'The Young Trailers' series—chronicle these extraordinary times as the background to the adventures of these remarkable young men. Altsheler was well regarded for high adventure set in American history and accurately encompassing actual personalities and real events. This Leonaur collection is available in soft cover and hard cover with dust jacket. Altsheler's 'Civil War' series and his 'French and Indian War' series are also available from Leonaur.
This first volume contains the first two novels of the series, The Young Trailers and The Forest Runner is set on the Great War Trail in the vast green wilderness of early Kentucky .
The boy’s eyes turned back to the river, and the black blot floating on its surface. That blot, he knew, had caused this sudden disappearance of a whole band of Shawnees, and he wanted to know more. The black blot came down the stream and grew into shape and outline, and the shape and outline were those of a boat. An Indian canoe? No; it rapidly grew beyond the size of any canoe used by the savages, and began to stand up from the water in broad and stiff fashion. Then Paul’s heart thumped, because all at once he knew. It was a flatboat, and it was certainly loaded with emigrants coming down the Ohio, women and children as well as men, and the Shawnees had laid an ambush. This was what the crafty Red Eagle had been waiting for so long. <br>
It was the final touch of savagery, and the boy’s generous and noble heart rebelled within him. He started up, propelled by the impulse to warn; but the two warriors pulled him violently back, one of them again touching him significantly with his tomahawk. Paul knew that it was useless. Any movement or cry of his would cause his own death, and would not be sufficient to warn those on the boat. He sank back again, trembling in every nerve, not for himself but for the unsuspecting travellers on the river.<br>
The boat came steadily on, Paul saw a number of men, some walking about and others at the huge sweeps with which it was controlled. And—yes, there was a woman and a child, too; a little girl with long, yellow curls, who played on the rude deck. Paul put his hand to his face, and it came back wet.<br>
Then he remembered, and his heart leaped up. The river was a mile wide, and the boat was keeping near the middle of the stream. No bullet from the savages could reach it. Then what was the use of this ambush? It had merely been a chance hope of the savages that the boat would come near enough for them to fire into it, but instead it would go steadily on! Paul looked exultantly at the two warriors beside him, but they were intently watching the boat, which would soon be opposite them.<br>
Then a ghastly and horrible thing occurred. A white face suddenly appeared upon the shore in front of Paul—the face of a white youth whom he knew. The figure was in rags, the clothing torn and tattered by thorns and bushes, and the hair hung in wild locks about the white face. Face and figure alike were the picture of desolation and despair.<br>
The white youth staggered to the very edge of the water, and, lifting up a tremulous, weeping voice, cried out to those on the boat:<br>
“Save me! Save me! In God’s name, save me! Don’t leave me here to starve in these dark woods!”<br>
It was a sight to move all on the boat who saw and heard—this spectacle of the worn wanderer, alone in that vast wilderness, appealing to unexpected rescue. Fear, agony, and despair alike were expressed in the tones of Braxton Wyatt’s voice, which carried far over the yellow stream and was heard distinctly by the emigrants. To hear was also to heed, and the great flatboat, coming about awkwardly and sluggishly, turned her square prow toward the southern shore, where the refugee stood.
Braxton Wyatt never ceased to cry out for help. His voice now ran the gamut of entreaty, hope, despair, and then hope again. He called upon them by all sacred names to help him, and he also called down blessings upon them as the big boat bore steadily toward the land where two score fierce savages lay among the bushes, ready to slay the moment they came within reach.<br>
Paul was dazed at first by what he saw and heard. He could not believe that it was Braxton Wyatt who was doing this terrible and treacherous thing. He rubbed away what he thought might be a deceptive film before his eyes, but it was still Braxton Wyatt. It was the face of the youth whom he had known so long, and it was his voice that begged and blessed. And there, too, came the boat, not thirty yards from the land now! In two more minutes it would be at the bank, and its decks were crowded now with men, women, and children, regarding with curiosity and pity alike this lone wanderer in the wilderness whom they had found in such a terrible case. Paul heard around him a rustling like that of coiled snakes, the slight movement of the savages preparing to spring. The boat was only ten yards from the shore! Now the film passed away from his eyes, and his dazed brain cleared. He sprang up to his full height, reckless of his own life, and shouted in a voice that was heard far over the yellow waters:<br>
“Keep off! Keep off, for your lives! It is a renegade who is calling you into an ambush! Keep off! Keep off!”<br>
Paul saw a sudden confusion on the boat, a running to and fro of people, and a bucking of the sweeps. Then he heard a spatter of rifle shots, all this passing in an instant, and the next moment he felt a heavy concussion. Fire flashed before his eyes, and he sank away into a darkness that quickly engulfed him.