Friendship's Gallop

Young Adult - Adventure
76 Pages
Reviewed on 09/20/2021
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Author Biography

Ross Davis is a freelance writer, consultant, and adjunct college professor from Indianapolis, Indiana. While pursuing a doctorate in sociology at South Dakota State University, he gained an appreciation of the Indian Tribes in the region there, which helped to inspire Friendship’s Gallop. Friendship’s Gallop is Ross’s first foray into publishing short story fiction. Ross has authored and co-authored published works of nonfiction, which largely deal with sociological issues such as the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), for instance: two chapters for the book Technosignatures for Detecting Intelligent Life in Our Universe: A Research Companion (Wiley-Scrivener, 2022), and the journal article "Concepts for Future Missions to Search for Technosignatures" (Acta Astronautica, 2021). Besides writing, Ross’s other creative interest is music, including having written and published contemporary folk songs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

Friendship's Gallop is a short story written by Ross Davis and his first work of fiction (he is already an established author of non-fiction books). Set in the 19th century, Friendship's Gallop tells the adventures of David Summit, the son of a farmer, and Painting Horse, a Lakota Indian. The two meet as boys when a friend of Painting Horse, Red Owl, beats David up, believing he has a connection to the miners who killed his brother. Although David has nothing to do with them, he spends some time with the Lakotas and makes friends with Painting Horse. After returning home, David could not have imagined that he and Painting Horse would meet again fourteen years later, when the farmer's son, now a cavalryman, would have to fight against the Indians.

Some stories of friendship and loyalty leave their mark on the reader. Friendship's Gallop is one of these stories. Davis's first work of fiction is a true success. The two protagonists are an inspiration for all those who believe friendship to be an important value. I liked that this friendship developed under dangerous circumstances for David first, and then later for Painting Horse. Life puts them to the test. From a narrative point of view, this keeps the reader in suspense until the last chapter. Who can imagine what will happen to Painting Horse and David? In addition to the great message of friendship, this uncertainty is what makes Friendship's Gallop a compelling read. I am sure all readers who love adventures and true-to-life stories will be thrilled by it.

Tammy Ruggles

Friendship's Gallop, by Ross Davis, is a compelling YA short story about friendship in the midst of chaos. Could your friendships withstand when the odds are stacked against them? We have two main characters, the son of a homesteader and a boy from the Lakota tribe. They forge a strong bond by sharing culture, horses, music, and finding adventure together. But barriers begin to rise in their friendship, and soon their bond is tested when the cavalry forces them to choose which side they want to be on when it comes down to the Indian boy's tribe being wiped from the frontier. The story begins in 1875, where we find sixteen-year-old Painting Horse and fifteen-year-old Red Owl hunting game on horseback. Then we are introduced to the settler boy, David Summit, about eighteen years old, and his father, Jesse. The story takes off when Painting Horse saves David's life.

An endearing story of enduring friendship follows, and Davis has crafted one that will stay with you for a long time. The themes are universal and long-lasting, the plot intriguing, and the pace quick-moving. This concise story could work wonderfully as a longer piece as well. You will find yourself immersed in the culture of the Lakota Indians and how the friendship grows between the two youths. The author gives a good sense of what it was to live in that era, how dangerous it could be for almost everyone, and how friendships and the lives of everyday people were affected by war. The tribe takes David in for a few days and teaches him some of their language, now to use a bow and arrow, etc. They even name him Howls Like the Wind because of his harmonica-playing. One touching part involves exchanging the harmonica and flute, symbolic of how the two friends share their lives. The story intensifies, of course, when the cavalry enters the picture. Friendship's Gallop by Ross Davis is a gripping story of friendship and values you won't want to miss.

Kimberlee J Benart

Friendship's Gallop by Ross Davis is an adventure story set in the late 1800s during a time of violent conflict between settlers, the Army, and Native Americans on the western frontier. David Summit, the son of a settler and now a lieutenant in the 2nd Cavalry, attacks a small Lakota camp only to find that Painting Horse is among the prisoners. David and Painting Horse met fourteen years earlier when Painting Horse saved David’s life, and the two boys exchanged musical instruments in a gesture of peace. When David’s commanding officer orders Painting Horse to be hanged for his part in defending his people from the cavalry attack, David must decide whether to repay the life debt he owes or to follow his orders.

In his debut fiction work, Ross Davis gives us a thoughtful look at life in the American West following the major Indian Wars when the Army continued driving Native Americans from their ancestral lands onto reservations. David and Painting Horse are presented as youths and young men of duty and honor who love their families, enjoy riding their horses across the open plains, and freely share their music. Both have a wonderful ability to look beyond the conflict which positions them as enemies. Instead, each appreciates their shared humanity. I especially liked David taking an interest in learning the Lakota language and culture. Friendship’s Gallop is an entertaining story with a universal message of friendship that goes far beyond the time in which it is set.


**Much Needed Topic**

Friendship’s Gallop by Ross Davis is a much needed reminder of people being capable of respecting one another even when their duties and upbringing put them against each other. The story centers around two boys / men – American David and Native American Painting Horse. Destined to hate each other, the boys find it in their hearts to see below the surface and understand each other’s point of view.

There is a truly beautiful moral hidden in this story that makes the reader appreciate this book even more. I enjoyed the story so much I would've liked author Davis to have spent more time elaborating on the moral differences between the two. This would've allowed me to have a better understanding of the characters and to also connect with them on a deeper level. I would've liked to have read more about the inner conflicts and feelings of the two protagonists as they seem to be a bit one-dimensional. This doesn't not take away from the reader being able to enjoy this wonderful story. With a little more finesse to how each character communicated with one another this story has potential to be impeccable. I did enjoy Davis's descriptions of the scenery as it allowed me to fully immerse myself in the story.

Friendship's Gallop is a quick and enjoyable read about friendship and understanding. With just 80 pages I would love for Ross to develop this short book into a full length novel.