Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick is a brilliant, sparsely written YA thriller set in the Arctic at the turn of the 20th century. Sig Andersson is alone in an isolated cabin with the body of his dead father, when there’s a knock at the door.
It’s Gunther Wolff, who has unfinished business with Sig’s father, Einar. And if Einar is not alive, then his business is with Sig. He wants to know where the gold is.
Sig has no idea but the man doesn’t believe him. Wolff has been chasing Einar for ten years and isn’t going to walk away empty handed.
As a story of Arctic gold-lust unfolds, Sig’s mind turns to his father’s prized Colt revolver. His mother had preached that faith was the answer but his father had said there were times when faith ran out and a gun was the answer. Was this one of those times? Should he resort to violence or have faith?
This is a finely crafted novel that seamlessly switches between Sig being held captive and his father’s story ten years earlier. For a writer, it’s a lesson in how to create suspense, how to reveal back story and how to create atmosphere. Not just the isolation and the cold, which practically gave me frostbite, but how to really draw a reader in. Marcus Sedgwick evokes the world brilliantly. I was in that cabin with Sig, I felt his loss and his fear. I struggled with his dilemma, and, I admit, I was willing him to use the gun to save himself.