Captain Bayley’s Heir
A Tale of the Gold Mines of California
Did it take an Englishman to write the first American western? Long before American writers of western tales began their story telling, English authors, such as Henty, were composing stories about the American westward expansion. A manly lad, Frank Norris, and his cousin, Fred Barkley, are rivals in the heirship of a considerable property.
Frank falls into a trap laid by Fred, and while under a false accusation of theft foolishly leaves England for America. Norris works his passage before the mast, joins a small band of hunters, crosses a tract of country infested with Indians to the California gold diggings, and is successful both as digger and trader. Features that are popular in television and western movies can be found in the writing of G.A. Henty long before it became standard cowboy fare. Wagon trains moving across the prairie, stagecoach robberies, buffalo hunts, ambushes, and more await the reader.
About the Author
George Alfred Henty, better known as G.A. Henty, began his storytelling career with his own children. After dinner, he would spend an hour or two telling them a story that would continue the next day. Some stories took weeks to finish! A friend was present one day and, watching the spell-bound reaction of his children, suggested that Henty write down his stories so others could enjoy them. He did and, as the saying goes, the rest is history! Henty wrote 144 books as well as numerous stories for magazines and became known as “The Prince of Story-Tellers” and “The Boy’s Own Historian.” One of Mr. Henty’s secretaries reported that he would quickly pace back and forth in his study, dictating stories as fast as the secretary could write them down!
Henty’s stories revolve around fictional boy heroes caught up in the events of fascinating times in history. The heroes of Henty stories are diligent, intelligent, and dedicated to their country and cause in the face of great perils. They fight in wars, sail the seas, make discoveries, conquer evil empires, prospect for gold, and participate in a host of other exciting adventures. Along the way, they cross paths with some of history’s most famous people. Henty’s heroes live through tumultuous historic eras, meeting leaders of that time. Every reader of Henty will gain an understanding of nations and cultures, as these are conveyed as a natural element of the reading. They’re one of the best ways to cultivate a taste for history in any reader!