Review of When Wolf Comes, written by John Pappas

Aidan Ephraim Martin was a man whose life took turns that no one could have ever predicted. The challenges he met after that fateful day in 1801 when he sat down for a drink in a public house after a hard day of fishing would have killed a lesser man. Being knocked unconscious and waking up as a captive seaman, miles out to sea, didn’t stop Aidan from living. Becoming a refugee at an isolated Spanish mission in northern California didn’t cause Aidan to lose heart. The all too brief interlude as a free seaman led to Aidan’s greatest test. He was grievously wounded, captured, and sold as a slave to a tribe in what we now call the Pacific Northwest.
Only at the end of this cleverly written tale of adventure can the reader come to understand what survival means.
Writing is an art. History is a science. To mix them together so they form a uniform and cohesive whole takes a passion and a love for both along with a strong desire to share. In this book John Pappas has demonstrated all this.
In writing historical fiction an author locks himself into a set of rules. These rules include everything that is entailed in the times during which the writing is to occur. All the actions of the characters are limited by the technology of the time, the clothing, social rules, etc. Even though it is fiction which implies that everything is pretend, using a historical setting means there are usually a set of expectations. To resolve a plot question an author can’t suddenly have a poet in 1750 Japan invent an electric generator using western principles. It just doesn’t work.
What works is John Pappas careful use of what had to be deep research into the history of the time. His characters use what is realistically at hand. Aidan’s toolkit is never complete, but completely realistic. His knowledge of ironworking is a beginner’s level which improves as he teaches himself and makes use of what is at hand. This book is definitely highly recommended and will not disappoint. This reviewer is ardently awaiting any possible future installment of Aidan’s life.Reviewer: John Helman, Allbooks ReviewsInternational
Title: When Wolf Comes
Author: John Pappas
Publisher: Orca11 Books
ISBN: 978-1-4276-3606-5
Pages: 289
April 2012
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