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Ghost Moon

by John Wilson

2 ratings
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reviews: 2
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westerns, violence, 19th century
list price: $12.95
also available: eBook eBook
published: 2011
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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
12 to 100
8 to 12
Reading age:
12 to 100
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Association of Book Publishers of BC
Librarian review

Ghost Moon

In part two of the Desert Legends Trilogy, 16-year-old Jim Doolen is looking for work on the ranches of New Mexico in 1878 when he meets up with Billy the Kid. At first Billy is friendly but Jim soon sees there is another side to the charming young man. The pair get caught up in the rivalry between two business enterprises. When that rivalry turns violent, Billy is in his element but Jim wants to get out. With the realization that power backed by corruption and violence is almost impossible to challenge, Jim learns that things are rarely black and white and revenge can come at a high cost. Although he tries to escape the violence, Jim is often entangled in it and troubled by his own reactions. Self-awareness comes slowly until Jim finally escapes.

Caution: Includes several episodes of men being shot in cold blood.

Source: The Association of Book Publishers of BC. BC Books for BC Schools. 2012-2013.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Ghost Moon (The Desert Legends Trilogy, Book 2)

It’s 1878, and Jim Doolen and a young Billy the Kid find work on a ranch south of Lincoln. When they become caught up in a vicious battle between two factions competing for army contracts, Jim witnesses a cold-blooded murder, and Billy swears revenge. Jim can’t escape the violence and is drawn into a bloody battle on the streets of Lincoln.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. Spring, 2012.

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  • Commended, TriState YA Review Group Book of Note
  • Commended, CCBC Best Books
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In the second installment of the Desert Legends Trilogy, Ghost Moon follows young James Doolen's story after he discovers the terrible truth about his father in Written in Blood. The year is 1878, and young Jim is not yet ready to return to Canada. Instead he heads up to New Mexico in hopes of finding work and building a life. On the way he meets Bill Bonney (later to be known as Billy the Kid), who takes him to a ranch south of the town of Lincoln, where they both find work as cowboys. Little does Jim know that he is about to get caught up in a vicious battle for the lucrative army contracts with nearby Fort Stanton. As the violence explodes around him, Jim becomes a helpless witness to cold-blooded murder and watches as Bill swears revenge and leads a gang of killers into the hills. However hard he tries, Jim can't escape the violence and is finally drawn into its bloody conclusion on the streets of Lincoln.

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He introduced himself as Bill Bonney, but said that everyone just calls him Kid because he's only eighteen. That makes him two years older than me, but he's smooth-cheeked and lightly built and could pass for younger. I think back to the other Kid I've met—the man I killed last year. But Bill is different. I've immediately taken a liking to him.

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Editorial Reviews

"[This] coming-of-age tale is filled with history, including an eyewitness account about what really happened at the Alamo, which is again referenced in the climax. Wilson, an award-winning Canadian author, captures the dichotomy building in Jim as he seeks his place in a world rife with violence and treachery."


"Action fans will thrill to the gunplay and other dangers. James' conflicting feelings about his archetypically dangerous friend—and also a telling conversation with an old Mexican survivor of the Alamo about the difference between legend and reality—introduce thought provoking elements. A tale of the Old West with a sturdy historical base and nary a dull moment."

— Kirkus Reviews

"A perfect book for boys looking to experience life during the Wild West."

— Tri State YA Book Review Committee
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About the Author

John Wilson

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, John Wilson grew up on the Isle of Skye and outside Glasgow, without the slightest idea that he would ever write books. After obtaining a degree in geology from the University of St. Andrews, he worked in Zimbabwe and Alberta before taking up writing full time and moving to Vancouver Island in 1991. John is the author of numerous articles, essays, poems and reviews, and almost fifty novels and nonfiction books for kids, teens and adults. He was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award (The Alchemist's Dream, 2007), and his books have won or been shortlisted for most Canadian children's-literature prizes.

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