It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence. In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna's parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows. Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act "civilized." Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land. Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember-strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become-in the eyes of the law-a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
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"Narrator Grover Gardner's charming voice lends the perfect touch to Captain Jefferson Kidd, a lonely widower in 1870 Texas. Gardner smoothly portrays Kidd's sophistication as he eloquently reads the news to settlers for ten cents a listener. Braver than he should be in his sunset years, Kidd agrees to single-handedly escort an orphan girl across 400 miles of dangerous Indian territory. Gardner tenderly portrays the 10-year-old's resentment and gradual trust as she is torn from the Kiowa tribe who kidnapped her and slowly rediscovers her original culture and the German and English languages she once spoke. Gardner's unpretentious narration does justice to Jiles's often exquisite turns of phrase and graceful depictions of the ethnically diverse American West. N.M.C. © AudioFile 2016, Portland, Maine"
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