News of the World by Paulette Jiles is a small gem of a book that covers Texas after the Civil War. Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through the outlaw wilds to perform live readings of newspapers. Folks eager to hear about other places pay a dime to hear this dignified seventy one year old war hero give them news and escape for an hour.
In Wichita Falls, the Captain accepts a fifty dollar gold coin and mission to take a young orphan to her relatives near San Antonio. At age six, Johanna was captured in an Indian raid that killed her folks. Now age ten, this blond haired blue eyed girl, is wild - knowledgeable in Kiowa ways. The Captain has a challenge ahead.
The four hundred mile odyssey is fascinating - thieves, Indians, anarchy and lawlessness rule Texas. Yet as the miles go by, he and a wary Johanna become quite a team. She's in a dress learning how to use a fork. He's learning to appreciate her survival skills and grows fond of her resourcefulness and spirit.
Their fate is intertwined and the conclusion is heartwarming. News of the World is sweet, well written, descriptive, and has rich characters in the Captain and Johanna. Pay a bit more than a dime, and enjoy this book escape.