The Captive Boy – My Review

Genre:  Historical Fiction
Date of Publication: December 20, 2015
Number of Pages: 170
Scroll down for the giveaway!

Colonel Mac McKenna’s Fourth Cavalry recaptures white captive August Shiltz from the Comanche, only to find August is determined to return to the Indians. McKenna attempts to civilize August to nineteenth-century American standards and becomes the boy’s foster father. But when August kills another boy in a fight, McKenna rejects him, and August escapes from Fort Richards (Texas). When war with the Comanche breaks out, McKenna discovers August is a war leader – and his greatest enemy.



“THE CAPTIVE BOY by Julia Robb is a story told in a unique way – through journal entries by several different characters and a novel within the novel. Robb is masterful in her depiction of each character, bringing to life an intriguing tale of the Old West.”
 Writer’s Digest competition judge
“It will capture you and keep you engaged from the beginning all the way through the end and also give you insights into the difficulties faced by those who fought on both sides of the Indian Wars in Texas after the Civil War. Buy this book. You will not be disappointed.”
— Steve Mathisen

“Ms. Robb’s research is evident on every page. Without becoming bogged down in detail, she employs just enough of it to paint an accurate picture of a dangerous and unforgiving time.”

— Samuel L. Robinson





The Captive Boy – My Review

“The morning began with a clear blue sky and cool wind, with meadowlarks soaring from the long grass on slightly rolling prairie with wildflowers of all colors covering the land.”

First, I’ve taken several graduate-level anthropology classes and I’ve read historical books on Native Americans and basically how our ancestors conquered them and drove them to reservations. Most accounts are not pretty.

Second, The Captive Boy could really be one of those nonfiction historical books relating a brief segment of time during the 1800s when the Indian wars were occurring.

Third, wow – the ending I never saw coming!

The Captive Boy is told and written with the voice of a newspaper reporter, Joe Grant, along with other historical journal entries. This unique storytelling gives this book life with a fresh voice. The story recounts how the army saved one German boy from the Comanche and how hatred over a bison calf drove a wedge between the boy and the man who tried his best to save him.

The dialogue-driven book places readers into the hardships of early life for men serving in the army while they were fighting the Indians. The journal excerpts from the camp doctor are very revealing and probably hold some truth to what it was like for doctors of that era to treat wounded men. Plus, it left me wondering if only doctors still employed natural treatments like the use of prickly pear, instead of chemicals, maybe our world and our health might be better.

Author, Julia Robb, realistically incorporates what the Llano Estacado looked like before ranching, farming, and settlement became the norm in the region. The grasses were so tall that they could indeed disguise horses and men alike. There were reports that the Llano Estacado had one of the largest prairie dog towns in the U.S. numbering into the millions, alongside bison, or how it seems the wind is always blowing on the Llano.

“It took us an entire day to pass one prairie dog town. So many prairie dogs lived in this town we heard a hum while we passed, like the hum of a human city.”

Robb created a near realistic journey into the world of betrayal, hope, love, war, and friendship centered around a captive boy named August. She ended the book perfectly – with an ending I never saw coming or imagined. My only wish – was seeing the actual drawings so often referenced by Grant. It would’ve made the story much more in-depth and meaningful.

Thanks, Julia for a fantastic read.



Julia grew up on the lower Great Plains of Texas, eventually became a reporter, and lived in every corner of the Lone Star State, from the Rio Grande to the East Texas swamps. She couldn’t shake images and experiences and began writing them down.
A priest once disappeared on the Mexican border and that inspired parts of Saint of the Burning Heart. She discovered a hypnotic seducer, who she turned into Ray Cortez, the bad guy in Del Norte. Reading about child Comanche captives and their fates made her want to write about a cavalry colonel who attempts to heal a rescued boy, and that turned into The Captive Boy. Finally, what happens to a man who is in love with another man, in a time and place where the only answer is death? That became Scalp Mountain.
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JUNE 19-28, 2018

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