Title: Faith in Every Footstep
Author: Wesley Banks
Publisher: Chasing Pace Publishing
Release Date: December 2016
Length: 193 pages
Series?: Faith, Hope, and Love #1
On the eve of one of mankind’s toughest races, accompanied by thirteen of America’s rarest dog breed, rookie musher Kyle Walker only has one thought in mind: win. Discovered in the lowlands of South Carolina, the Carolina grays have traveled over five thousand miles to face off in the 2003 Yukon Quest. But one dog stands above the rest—King.
When an unexpected storm strikes, Kyle Walker and the reigning champion are forced to turn back. Stranded at the checkpoint, Kyle and his dogs find solace in a young veterinarian with auburn hair and keen green eyes—Jenna Maynor.
In this storm another race is forming, one of an Inuit man racing to save his family. Presented with the choice to help, but at the risk of his and his dogs’ lives, Kyle Walker ventures into the unknown in search of a mom and two young daughters.
The Yukon Quest was founded on the premise that a dog driver and his team should be a self-sufficient unit capable of challenging varied terrain and severe weather. But these conditions may prove to be too much, even for Kyle and King.
*Note: I thought this was the sequel to Hope in Every Raindrop, which I reviewed mid-2015. That is not the case. This book was written with events preceding those.
Kyle Walker has spent the last six months avidly training and preparing his Carolina dogs for the Yukon Quest. He chooses to run his sled one dog short. He surprises many people by refusing to drop any of his dogs, instead letting them ride on. It is here in the wilds that he meets vet Jenna Maynor, as well as young and inexperienced reporter.
Kyle discovers he is pacing his team and keeping up well, especially for a rookie. But when the weather takes such a turn, he and a veteran competitor must turn back to the checkpoint. When a stranger, an Inuit man, comes into the picture, all at the checkpoint learn that his wife and daughters are out in the storm unprotected. Despite specific Quest directions to remain indoors, Kyle is already on his way to reunite this family.
He unclipped King’s neckline and harness from the team and said something he thought he’d never say to anyone. “I’m going to leave King here with you.”
The Highs and Lows
- The Elements. The Yukon Quest is nothing to sneeze at. I didn’t know much about it besides it being in the freezing cold of Alaska and I would die, so I looked it up. It starts in 22 days! This is not a competition for the light-hearted. It takes a lot of determination, planning, knowledge, and hard work. These mushers face the elements in the most harshest of seasons. Watching things like Ice Truckers and those kind of shows pale in comparison to the dangers Kyle and his team faced. This element of danger heightened my reading. I think I continued on hoping nothing bad would come Kyle’s way.
- Kyle and King’s Relationship. In this installment, Kyle and King’s relationship is explored a little bit more. Their incredible bond is truly shown in the latter half of the book. Not to give anything away, but I was surprised by a couple of events that happened in that part of the book. For new readers, this gives none of the backstory. It just tells of this incredible relationship between Kyle and his dog, King. And then Hope in Every Raindrop explores that and gives the history.
- The Joking. From Kyle to Jenna to the competitors to the reporters, there are jokes and humor embedded throughout this book. Kyle and Jenna’s interactions cracked me up.
- Kyle. When it matters, Kyle is not self-serving. He abandons his high place in the race to rescue the Inuit’s family and sacrifices everything for them. There was a real possibility that he and his dogs would not make it, let alone make it back. I was once again impressed by Kyle. He – a rookie at 20 years old – is more willing to assist than the most seasoned of mushers. That speaks volumes.
- Pacing. The pacing was perfect for this book. I was constantly engaged and wanting to read on to see if Kyle would survive the Quest and win, and then with his decision to go out on a rescue mission I was rooting that he would come back with them all safely.
Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip?
No matter how you get them, read the series! It is an incredible story.
Wesley Banks was born in 1983 and grew up on the west coast of Florida. He graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Civil Engineering. After spending over 7 years building movable bridges from Florida to Washington he decided to focus on his true passion: writing.
Wesley recently moved from Florida to Oregon to get back to the great outdoors that he loves so much. He lives with his wife Lindsey, and his two dogs Linkin and Story. Most of his time these days is spent writing, with as much rock climbing, hiking, or skiing as he can fit in.