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Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite
Eagle Talons: The Iron Horse Chronicles - Book One is a debut novel from Robert Murphy and it's an outstanding work of historical fiction. Set in 1867, it tells the story of the transcontinental railroad and the people who were instrumental in carrying off one of the greatest feats in American history. Will Braddock is only fourteen when his mother dies, leaving him an orphan. Unwilling to apprentice as a blacksmith, Will steals away in the night and leaves Iowa, hoping to find his Uncle Sean, who is a surveyor with the Union Pacific Railroad. But, Will is ill-equipped and unprepared to face the vengeance of the natives who see their hunting grounds increasingly depleted and destroyed by the presence of the railroad. Will encounters an Irish criminal who has a vendetta against his family, and he forms an unlikely bond with a half-breed Cheyenne with mixed loyalties.
I loved each and every character in Eagle Talons, even the bad guys. Murphy brilliantly develops each lead character so that readers will carry vivid memories into the sequels, knowing the characters are solidly developed and true to their roles. Jenny has more spunk than a rodeo bull and Homer is endearing in his willingness to teach while leading the young Will Braddock. Hopefully, Will is in the following books as he is an unforgettable young man, a composite of the best of early pioneer America. Murphy has a flair for historical fiction and his ability to tell the tale and put the reader right into the story is phenomenal!