Starting with the few facts that he knew about his Russian immigrant grandfather, Tom Blubaugh has created a terrific novel. Night of the Cossack by Tom Blubaugh (Bound by Faith Publishers, 2011) is a riveting tale of suspense, mystery, power, family and romance that a kid will not want to put down. It is also the story of a journey to Jesus.

The story centers around Nathan Hertzfield, a young Jewish man. While trying to defend his family from the attacks of the Cossacks sent by the Tzar of Russia, Nathan is kidnapped by a Cossack soldier named Nikolai. Nikolai instructs Nathan to change his name to Stepan Ivanov, concealing his nationality. Nathan is only fifteen and he is forced to grow up quickly.

Gradually, Nikolai and Nathan become friends and Nikolai allows him a short visit to his home, his mother and brother. His mother and brother are overjoyed. As he leaves, his mother assures Nathan her daily prayers are with him.

Later Nathan is forced to join the Russian Army. Vasile, a friend from his childhood, accuses him of a crime he did not commit. The loss of his family and harsh treatment have caused Vasile to become cruel. Nathan realizes his childhood friend has changed and is out to get him. He deserts from the Russian army and flees to a city in Romania where he finds respite with a Jewish family. They become dear to him, yet the father of the house decides that Nathan is endangering his family and encourages him to leave. In France Nathan’s troubled past continues to threaten his life, but the troubles of the past now become the way for him to find Jesus and hope.

An exciting page-turner, this novel teaches many things. For one, the reader will certainly appreciate his/her family more, as the hero in the story was kidnapped from his family against his will and experienced tremendous sorrow in the process. It also shows how at different periods in history so many people gave up their lives and freedoms for the good of others.

Night of the Cossack would be very suitable for children ages 10 and above.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many job titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”