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Rusty Son of Tall Elk

When a young white boy is captured by Cheyenne Indians his life is saved because of his flaming red hair. Russell Weaver, nicknamed Rusty, is adopted by Chief Tall Elk, who already has a red-haired, half-breed daughter named Late Setting Sun, and the stage is set for battle between the two. Late Setting Sun is given the routine task of getting Rusty dressed as an Indian prior to being presented to the tribe's elders. The two redheads take an immediate dislike to each other. He is tired from four days of hard riding and she has no time for his shyness. Rusty resists her efforts and shouts, "I'm not going to take of my pants...in front of a girl." She retaliates, starting a conflict which continues throughout much of the novel. In order to force his cooperation - she is taller and one year older - she trips and spanks his freckled bottom, which gives her even more ammunition to tease him with. Of course this is not fun for Rusty, but great fun to read.

This is just the beginning of a series of adventures, some amusing and some dangerous. The reader doesn't realize it, but the author, Charles H. Bertram, out of his vast storehouse of authentic material about the Northern Plains Indians, is teaching the reader to appreciate how clever and resourceful these Indians were in finding ways to survive in a hostile environment.

Thanks to all his reading, Rusty has all his life day-dreamed of being a hero in adventures. His quick wit and ability to read lips help move him from being teased as different, to becoming a productive member of the tribe. His story-telling prowess is soon sought after by many. At age twelve he goes on a vision quest to become a complete member of the tribe.

Characters and actions are so realistic that everyone, of any age from young adults to grandparents, will find this book absorbing with its abundance of Indian lore.

In this first book of a series, the author shows his deep understanding of the feelings of a young boy through his rite of passage into adulthood. The tribal wars and hunting of the main character Rusty come alive in this quickly-read and vastly humorous novel.

Book review by Dorothy Black

 

  

Chipped Beef on Toast, SOS

"Read your book and found it hilariously funny. It brought back many of those humorous moments and reminiscences that I had almost forgotten. I will certainly recommend it to all my veteran friends."

Your Air Force Buddy,

Peter Hoetjes

Professional Business Writer

 

"I have just read your book of short stories entitled Chipped Beef on Toast, SOS. If there are any innocents left out there who don't know to what SOS refers, ask a service person. It does not stand for 'save our ship'. Charlie writes of military life. His stories range from the sublime to the ridiculous, often with an O'Henry type twist at the end. If you have occasion to purchase a copy for yourself or a friend who has served our country, you will be rewarded by his creativity, his humor, and always his human touch."

Bruce R. Swineburn, PhD

Author

 

"Thanks for a copy of your book, Chipped Beef on Toast, SOS. The cover intrigued me enough to make me sit down and read a few pages. The stories kept me reading until I was startled to find that I had completed the book. My complaint is "there is not more of it". What I liked most about your collection, besides the humor, is that it took me back to my own service time and led me on a nice walk down the nostalgic trail."

Dick Wood

Veteran/Writer

 

"On behalf of the veterans here at Emory L. Bennett Veterans Nursing Home, we wish to express our gratitude to you for sharing your stories and experiences from your book, Chipped Beef on Toast, SOS. Many of your stories bring back personal memories to our veterans allowing them to relate to some of their past experiences in the military."

Steve C. Allgood

Activity Assistant, Emory L. Bennett Veterans Nursing Home

 

  

Stone Bear

How wonderful is the pen of this aspiring author. It is brimming with swash-buckling adventure and well-told yarns. It is the perfect antidote to the unctuous nonsense plopped onto current bookshelves. A perfect gift for an intelligent youngster, and a delight for adults. An absolutely delectable concatenation ensconced between Alex Haley's Roots and Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer and infinitely more adventuresome and electrifying than Cold Mountain. Bertram's Stone Bear emphasizes the importance of heritage, of knowing that our descendants are still alive in spirit, and that they have left a legacy for us to fulfill.

Bertram brings to life, in fascinating mind-numbing detail, the life of an eighteenth century dirt-poor Irish poacher and his heart-wrenching revolt against English tyranny and his bold and breathtaking escape to a new life in the rugged and dangerous frontier mountains of North Carolina. He embarks on his newfound life of freedom with the Cherokee and his young Indian squaw. The natives soon affectionately call him White Cherokee. He and his half-breed family fight against race domination, from the white man's demand for land and gold to many eons later when his great-great-grandson, Stone Bear, valiantly fights the sadistic Japanese during World War II executing age-old Indian warrior tactics. This is truly an unforgettable novel that illuminates the cruel injustices of bigotry and racism.

Throughout, you are drawn to the authenticity of its place and characters and it isn't until you put the book down that you realize this starkly beautiful story was pure fiction. Stone Bear brings to life the heartbreak of families being separated and taken advantage of which causes the reader to take another look at their culture and family. It compels all who read it to appreciate what they have. I would definitely recommend it to those who enjoy thought-provoking literature, interspersed with lessons of hope, faith in loved ones, and joy in family, and to those who desire to learn more about the arduous life of an early immigrant and our Native Americans. Bertram keeps readers on the edge of their seats or makes them sit-up in bed. I give this poignant uplifting novel "5-Stars" for literary merit. It surely belongs on Oprah's Book Club.

Peter Hoetjes

Professional Business Writer