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Coal Black Horse by Robert Olmstead
Coal Black Horse begins with 14-year-old Robey Childs being sent off by his mother to find his father. It's 1863 and the Battle of Gettysburg is about to turn the tide of the Civil War. With a coat that is reversible blue and gray, Robey sets off on a horse that is soon crippled. A neighbor lends him a coal-black horse whose strength and courage bears him forward into the maelstrom of death and evil that has arisen with the war. Robey continues to discover malicious and evil deeds, some perpetrated on the innocent and others where he is the victim. By the time he arrives in Gettysburg, his father has already thrust himself into the battle. Robert Olmstead's coming-of-age novel has received mostly positive reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "It's the kind of novel that you will want to read once simply for the storytelling. Will Robey rescue his father? Will he find cause for hope? Then you will want to read it again to let Olmstead's prose wash over you. It's as muscular, sturdy, well hewn, and wise as the coal-black horse himself."