Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd has survived some of the bloodiest battles in America's short history. Now, in 1870 the widowed Captain spends his time travelling and reading news from around the world to paying audiences. In Wichita Falls, he is called into service once again; but this time he isn't carrying news. Four years earlier, the Kiowa Indians slaughtered a family and took a six-year-old girl captive. She has been raised in the Kiowa culture, forgotten most of the English language and now has been re-captured to be returned to her aunt and uncle in Castroville, Texas. Captain Kidd takes on the wild, young Johanna for the 400 mile journey. Knowing nothing of the civilized world, Johanna is confused and upset, and keeping her safe and secure proves to be a challenge during the dangerous journey. However, as they progress the Captain and Johanna form a strong bond.
I loved the premise of this book, an older and wiser Captain Kidd taking in a young captive. Johanna's story, which is based on many true accounts of captive children who are returned to their original lives, captivated me. Johanna's journey in her mind was far more dangerous than their journey on the road. Johanna went through many emotional and psychological changes. We get a few insights into what is going on in her head, but not many. I feel like Johanna's inner dialogue would have been the most interesting; however the writing was done in third person, so we only get a few snippets. One quote that did stick out to me was: "It was not worth being alive when one was alone among aliens." The Captain's gentle, compassionate and patient nature with Johanna was wonderful to read about, without him, I'm sure she would not have survived. News of the World also gave me a great sense of what life was like in post-civil war Texas as the unlikely duo traveled from North to South throughout the state. This was a wonderful overview of the dangers, the people and the landscape of Texas at the time.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.