Homer P. Figg is an accomplished young liar with a downright aversion to truth-telling. He reminds me of a Tom Sawyer with his ability to spin tales though in terms of his upbringing he’s more of a Huck Finn raised by a harsh uncle who keeps Homer and his brother cold, hungry and working hard. When his brother, Harold, is tricked into joining the Union Army to earn his uncle some money, Homer sets out to find him and rescue him before he can see combat. Early adventures on his quest to find Harold include helping run-away slaves, being taken by con men on a ship, and traveling with a medicine man show as the amazing pig boy. When Homer makes it to the Battle of Gettysburg and sees the horrors of war firsthand, the book becomes darker andless whimsically adventurous.
While there is still a hot air balloon adventure and a ride on horseback through a hail of bullets to keep the action going, there are also many soldiers who are wounded and dying to haunt Homer in his adventures. This was a memorable tale filled with historical details and a willfully likable hero. The early part of the book would be a good read for 5th and 6th grade, but the action at the front lines made it a Junior High read for me (though it would depend on the reader). 204p., 2009.