Title: The Piddingtons
Author: David Michaels
Genre: Historical Fiction
Reviewer: Joyce M. Gilmour
ISBN (links go to the MWSA Amazon store): 0988503204
THE PIDDINGTONS is the third book of the TRAIL COOK trilogy. The first book, TRAIL COOK, deals with young Able Piddington, his adventures and his struggles getting from London, England to America's Wild West in 1875. His many adventures are published in the newspapers, making him a legend in his own time. The second book, THE TRAIL COOK CHRONICLES, picks up where the first book left the legendary traveler; on his way to escort the last band of Apache to the Mescalero Indian Reservation. While there, he marries his traveling companion, Kirsten in a traditional Apache ceremony. Together they make their way through hostile territory until they reach the town of San Diego, where they book passage on a steamship bound for San Francisco to visit Kirsten's family Because of strained relationships the couple decides to take an extended cruise around the tip of South America and across the Atlantic to visit Able's family in London. The news that Kirsten is carrying a baby is welcomed by Able's family but she is not emotionally ready for motherhood. Four years later, when their son, Gilbert Gopher Piddington, is old enough to sail the Atlantic and trek across America, the three of them leave for Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the couple first fell in love and where they hope to build a thriving restaurant business. Finding a suitable location is a problem but with the help of the local Monsignor, a solution is reached. Now Able must design a proper sign to adorn his run-down adobe building that once served as the region's church. Travel across America in 1881 is much more comfortable and civilized. But the character they meet along the way haven't changed much since their last visit to the Southwest. Graft and corruption of the New Mexico Territory causes difficulties in getting settled and becoming solvent. Trains now make difficult journeys easy. While waiting for his restaurant sign to be built and painted, Able and his family decide to take a side trip to re-visit their Apache friends. But a few vengeful rouge warriors kidnap their son and hide him in the mountains, just to spite the whites that they have grown to hate-or to enslave the boy. Former Apache enemies become allies as Able and Kirsten undertake the desperate search for their son.