BOOK SUMMARY: A gripping account of a mountain boy's love for a dog he's hiding from its owner.
Marty, 11, tells how Shiloh, the runaway, first caught his heart; still, his bone-poor West Virginia
family has a strong sense of honor, and the dog is returned to its owner. After it runs back to Marty,
he hides it in the woods.
As Marty's structure of lies to his parents compounds, the villainous owner circles closer. By the time
Judd finds Shiloh, the whole family is compromised and the dog has been injured. Marty does get the dog, partly
by another lie of omission: he blackmails Judd when he finds him poaching and makes a deal to work for Judd to
pay for the dog, but tells his parents another version.
Fine lines are explored here: How necessary is it to adhere to the strict truth? "What kind of
law is it...that lets a man mistreat his dog?" Has the dog been "saved: if this leads to its injury? Marty
concludes that "nothing is as simple as you guess--not right or wrong, not Judd Travers, not even me
or this dog." Meanwhile, young readers will rejoice that Shiloh and Marty end up together.