Huck Finn & Tom Sawyer Among the Indians Paperback
* Readers say they can't distinguish where Twain leaves off and Nelson begins.
* Nelson's writing credentials include more than 30 books, including the best-selling Storm Testament series set in the 1800s.
In 1885 while The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was becoming one of the best-selling American classics of modern times, Mark Twain began this sequel in which Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer and Jim head west on the trail of two white girls kidnapped by Sioux warriors, learning the hard way that ""book Injuns and real Injuns ain't the same."" Fifteen thousand words into the work, Twain stopped in the middle of a sentence, never to go back; the unfinished story sitting on dusty shelves for more than a hundred years until The University of California cut a deal with Utah author Lee Nelson to finish it.
This story, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians, is the first new book with Mark Twain's name on it in nearly a hundred years, with readers saying they can't tell where Twain stops and Nelson begins: a story of adventure, wit and wisdom with Tom and Huck seeking true love while tramping through hostile Indian country, befriending Bill Hickman and Porter Rockwell, stealing from the United States Army, then on to face a gunfight and hangman's noose in Sacramento, California.
Author's Note: I discovered Mark Twain's unfinished story Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer Among the Indians when it was published in Life Magazine in 1968. I was in the Brigham Young University barbershop, reading part of the story before my haircut, and I read the rest afterward.
I was enthralled, hanging on every word as Huck, Tom and Jim joined up with the Mills family on the Platte River. A group of Sioux Indians befriended the family, then suddenly slaughtered the parents and older boys, and kidnapped the two girls and Jim. Huck and Tom joined forces with mountain man Brace Johnson to follow the Indians and rescue the girls. As they approached the Indian camp, getting ready for a daring rescue, the story suddenly ended, right in the middle of a sentence. I was so disappointed. Although Mark Twain wrote and published a number of books and stories after 1885, he never finished this one.
Early in 2002, while watching a documentary on Mark Twain on a local PBS station, I remembered reading the Among the Indians story in the barbershop. By this time I had published a dozen historical novels with settings on the American frontier, and realized I was probably as qualified as any other living author to finish the work begun by Twain. A little research on the web led me to those who controlled the copyright-The Mark Twain Foundation and the University of California Press. Contact was made, approval was granted, a contract was drawn up, and the following story is the result.
I have no idea how Twain intended to finish the story, and I reason that he didn't know either, or he would have done it. I just hope that wherever he is, he enjoys my conclusion as much as I enjoyed his beginning.