Title: REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer
Author: Andrew Joyce
Release Date: August 2013
Length: 195 pages
Genre: historical, classical
Three men come together in the town of Redemption, Colorado, each for his own purpose. Huck Finn is a famous lawman not afraid to use his gun to protect the weak. He has come to right a terrible wrong. After his wife’s death, Tom Sawyer does not want to live anymore; he has come to die. The third man, the Laramie Kid, a killer Huck and Tom befriended years earlier, has come to kill a man. For these three men Death is a constant companion. For these three men it is their last chance for redemption.
I accepted this book for review simply because I have an affinity for Huckleberry Finn. Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors. I first read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in my junior English class. It was a big deal to be reading it in public school. My teacher, Deb Ostas, is an absolutely fantastic literary – and I think I fell in love with the book because of the way she taught it and made us dig into the book. I selected TAOHF for one of my literature papers in college. I found my junior English journal, with all of my notes to use and I stayed up and re-read TAOHF in one night – the night before the paper was due, of course. Needless to say, I have a slight bias toward this book…
This book was not what I expected, and in ways more than I expected. No, Andrew Joyce does not follow in the syntax and structure that Mark Twain used in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Before reading, I thought he would try to imitate that aspect of Twain’s writing, but I soon found out Joyce had no intention of doing so.
According to the Lakota, the four things that make a man a man are bravery, fortitude, generosity and wisdom.
The book starts off like this:
The last time you heard of me and Tom was in that book Sam Clemens wrote telling of when Jim and me flowed down the Mississippi and met up with the King and the Duke. Then Jim got captured and Tom and I had to set him free. Of course, Jim was already a feed man; Tom just neglected to mention that fact during the planning stage.
Well, we were twelve years of age when Sam wrote about that. Now Tom and I are a mite older and a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then…
The novel picks up a bit after Mark Twain’s two ended, with General Beauregard firing on Fort Sumter in the spring of 1860, when Huck and Tom are 24. Naturally, they signed up to fight the damn Yankees. War was not what they thought it would be, and after Tom gets shot and they see the horrors of the field doctors of the time, they hightail it back toward home.
Within seconds you couldn’t see the enemy for love nor money through the gun smoke. I was firing into a cloud of white smoke and reloading as fast as I could.
They stumble on some Southern hospitality, but soon three Yankee soldiers intrude and put up a fight right in the yard. Huck saves the day, and leaves one man alive: Jed Bevins, who is also central to the novel. Huck sees the fear in young 16-year old Jed, and sends him off to California with some of his treasure money. I thought that was the last I’d see of Jed Bevins, but he is destined to return…
After all is settled, Tom is determined to go to China, so the duo head to California. It takes a while for Tom to get signed on to a vessel bound for China, but he does so, and it was the last I thought we’d see of him, too. At this part, I was surprised and nostalgically upset that Tom and Huck would separate so easily in life and go their own ways. In my eyes, they were destined to grow old together in their cantankerous state.
It was a sight to behold, the Laramie Kid swirling around the jail office with Tom Sawyer in his arms.
The novel is told from Huck Finn’s perspective, in first person. Along the way, it deviates to Jed’s perspective, but in third person, and his life with the Lakota. Later, it deviates to Tom’s life after leaving California for China, and how he ended up coming back to the States to find Huck.
Tom and Jed have both had some trials in their lives. Through is normal devilish ways, Huck ends up the sheriff of a town, and later the marshal of Redemption. The Laramie Kid has been on the hunt and is rumored to kill the best gunman in every town he happens upon, and word is The Laramie Kid is looking for Huck Finn. This was a nice twist!
The book covers authentic pieces of history: the Civil War, Southern hospitality, traveling means, Native American culture, the Wild West, ranchers and nesters, homesteading, cattle ranges, cattle wars, law enforcement, small towns.
For most of the book, I had no idea where Joyce was leading, not until Redemption. Then I started catching on. For me, this facet didn’t bother me – I enjoyed it, probably due to all of the historical aspects this book encompassed. The Wild West, as I call it, is the culminating focus on the novel.
What I really liked was the ending. Huck explains briefly what happened after Redemption, where life took him, and what he’s done since then, and he gives little updates on many of the characters he met throughout the course of the book.
Tom and I are night on sixty years of age now. He tells me he’d like to retire and sit on the hotel porch for the rest of his days…
This is a great read about Tom and Huck, and their further adventures into the West as they grow older in life. The book covers their lives from 24 to nearly 60 and concludes in 1895. The last chapter Huck talks about the letters he receives from those he met, and it ends kind of like a letter, so I envision the novel as one long letter that Huck has written.
I wish the book didn’t have to come to an end, and as it neared the end I got the distinct feeling this will be a single, stand-alone novel and not a series. Just like I did the first time I read Huckleberry Finn, I fell in love with him all over again in Joyce’s novel.
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written three books, and a collection of almost one hundred stories that is comprised of his hitching adventures, written as veiled non-fiction called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS, and his latest novel, REDEMPTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with his dog Danny.