Wilder's Foe

Henry, Dylan, and Arla land the perfect summer job bringing supplies by boat to the cabins on Rainy Lake. Gold is still waiting to be discovered, but now they can fish and search for the River of Gold mine as they make their rounds. But exploring the islands turns dangerous. Someone is hiding a crime, Henry, Dylan, and Arla can't run fast enough.

KIRKUS REVIEW In Bradley’s (Wilder’s Edge, 2013) YA sequel, a summer of adventure continues for cousins Henry and Dylan and their friend Arla when a job of running supplies on a lake near the U.S.-Canada border puts them in the middle of some shady goings-on.

Teenager Henry usually spends only a week at the Minnesota cabin with his cousin’s family, but this year, it’s the entire summer. He and Dylan are grounded (a carry-over from the previous book), but Dylan’s dad, Mike, lets the boys deliver supplies to cabins on Rainy Lake. The two, along with Arla, can’t stay away from trouble; they respond to screams coming from Turtle Island and save a bear cub. Near the border, they find an old mink farm and empty cages, but they realize something’s wrong when, inside a seemingly abandoned cabin, someone traps them by slamming the door shut. Meanwhile, strange but affectionate local resident “the king” knows for sure that illegal activity is afoot, having found mysterious, large plastic coolers. And the situation later becomes dire for the teens when one of them goes missing. Bradley’s quick, appealing novel is boosted by illustrative descriptions of the surrounding wilderness—towering pines “coated in green moss” and bundles of blueberry bushes—and even the food, such as the “thick and creamy” chocolate or wild strawberries mixed with vanilla ice cream that Arla’s grandmother sells at her store, the Last Stop. Henry is a laudable protagonist; he knows a lot less about fishing or boating than his bulkier cousin, but he’s a lovable nerd more comfortable at science camp, so it’s painted as a shame that new Last Stop employee Rika keeps her attention solely on Dylan and largely ignores Henry. The king’s “protectors,” dogs Freya and Odin, nearly steal the story in sheer cuteness; their master, eyeing a suspiciously low-flying plane, tries to move stealthily through the woods, and the canines belly-crawl behind him. There are subtle references to the author’s prior novel to pique reader interest—in a callback, the book opens with the two boys retrieving Dylan’s boat motor from the bottom of the lake—as well as a good number of suspects to deepen the mystery, from a man who’s served time in prison to the returning, and rather unpleasant, Helgason brothers. More enjoyable escapades for Henry and company in this delightful summertime series.

NEMBA silver medal award winner 2015

Diane Bradley

About Diane Bradley (South Bend, Indiana Author)

Diane Bradley

Diane Bradley grew up in the northern woods on a farm by Two Harbors, Minnesota. She spent a wonderful childhood daydreaming, fishing, horseback riding, and tromping through the woods. She received degrees from the University of Minnesota and Indiana University South Bend, and retired from teaching to write children’s books.

Her mystery adventure books Wilder's Edge, Wilder’s Foe, and Wilder’s Ghost, North Star Press, takes place in northern Minnesota. She and her characters, Henry and Dylan Wilder, and friends Arla, and Rika think a perfect day is being out on Rainy Lake. She has written nonfiction articles in Cabin Life, and Simply North about muskrats, Jun Fujita, and writing in the woods.

Diane now lives in the woods not so far north in Indiana along with her husband and two rescue dogs, Freya and Watson. She still loves to fish and has added kayaking to her list of favorite things. Visit her at dianebradleywriter.com.

Other Books by This Author