When 13-year-old Ben Ward left school to work with his Pa in a logging camp, a winter of peeling potatoes and setting tables wasn’t the adventure he had in mind. Still, come spring, he signs up for the log drive with his friend Nevers, wishing the head cook on the wanigan (the floating cook shack) could be someone other than his crabby Pa. Fate, with a wink, complies, and Pa quits—only to be replaced by someone far worse: Pete Sardman, aka Old Sard, a cantankerous character complete with a greasy apron, an eye patch, one deaf ear, and plenty to say.
Luckily, there’s also the rest of the crew—a colorful, sometimes outrageous company of men. Together Ben and Nevers endure freezing weather, dangerous rapids, logjams, storms and floods, and a number of gripping tall tales, along the way learning about logging on the river and a whole lot more about life.
Taking up where Blackwater Ben left off, Dead Man’s Rapids returns to the north woods of Minnesota in the late nineteenth century, and with warmth, humor, and attention to historical detail engages readers both young and old.
William Durbin is a writer and former teacher who lives on Lake Vermilion at the edge of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. A winner of the Great Lakes Book Award and a two-time winner of the Minnesota Book Award, he has published eleven novels for young readers, including The Broken Blade, Wintering, and, also published by Minnesota, Song of Sampo Lake, Blackwater Ben, and The Darkest Evening.
Barbara Durbin is a lifelong educator who has worked as an elementary school teacher and a teacher of gifted and talented programs.