Last week I visited a friend and came home in love with Roy F. Chandler.
I parked in front of their wall of bookcases (the way I do) and asked about some of the titles. After a while, my friend went into a back room and returned with five red covered books by Roy Chandler.*
He said they were a gift from his co-worker when he retired. I picked up the first one, Arrowmaker and started reading.
When I went online, the books are not easy to find–they are privately published and folks seem to hold on to them. They are either $40.00 plus for a hardcover or $4.99 for an e-book. I downloaded Arrowmaker (From Amazon) that night and fell in love. The story is written for adults but the reading level is more Young Adult.
The values and language are not inappropriate for children, but because of subplots of courtship and frontier violence I would start with an older child of 6th or 7th grade. In a way, this book reminds me of the Little House on the Prairie series. It embodies values like industry, honesty, perseverance and good humor. Life on the frontier was brutal, the people lived on the knife’s edge and they had to work hard, rely on ingenuity and reputation matter for survival. Another adventure series I like as much is the Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan (fantasy) or Arundel series by Kenneth Roberts (Revolutionary War series).
“Those who have read or reviewed Arrowmaker claim the story is
better than even the frontier classics “Drums Along the Mohawk” and.
“The Last of the Mohicans.” We, the publishers agree. There has
never been such a fulfilling tale of the colonial frontier.
Arrowmaker leaves a reader satisfied. Things come out the way they
should, and in these days of confused and irresolute writing that
alone is gratifying.
Arrowmaker is filled with exploring, building and fighting. The
story is based on facts including actual incidents that occurred in
the areas depicted. If a reader chose, he could go to the land
described and walk the ground while recognizing the physical
features written about.
Arrowmaker is replete with the danger and violence of the times, but
the warring is believable and much of it really happened.
Readers develop a unique empathy with the frontiersman, Rob Shatto,
and when finished each reader will have gained a new friend that he
will cherish as if Rob’s great wilderness home had been just down
the road. In this volume you will meet frontiersmen and Indians who
reappear in succeeding books of this frontier series, but you must
read Arrowmaker first. It is the soul-the heart-of all that comes
after, and believe us, you will wait with impatience the coming of
the next book and each thereafter. We know it is so because we
(including the author) have experienced it. The adventure is heady,
and we highly recommend it.”
I grew up in Dauphin County, next door to Perry County. The names and locations of the places in the book are familiar to me. I shared Arrowmaker with my FIL who was born in Canada and raised on a farm. He was equally absorbed. The publisher says that readers or all ages and reading abilities fall in love with the books. I love that.
A bio on Amazon had this to say about Roy Chandler, “Roy F. Chandler, MSgt. U.S. Army (retired) was an active duty soldier for twenty years. A veteran of WWII and Korea, he operated a sniper school, and during the 1950s he was a test NCO at the arctic Test Board in Alaska. Roy Chandler has been a nationally recognized big game hunter and writer for forty-five years. He has authored 57 published books.” Seriously? He’s awesome.
I love the romance of the frontier and the French and Indian War. My step father earned a merit badge camping out alone next to General Braddock’s grave when he was a boy. I loved his stories of Half-King and his daughter. I love historical fiction with a strong grounding in facts. Real people, real events woven into an unforgettable narrative. I’m grateful to my friend who sharing his library with me.
*for this post, I used a variety of French and Indian War inspired artwork to add interest to the text. The book Arrowmaker is set at the time of the Indian Wars in PA in the 17th century. The pictures are not accurate for the story but they are not far off either.