Valentine’s Day saw the release of survivalist and Whiskey Knives co-collaborator Creek Stewart’s young-adult romance novel, “Rugosa.” What knife enthusiasts will appreciate about this adventure is that by page 4 a machete crafted from a lawn-mower blade has made an appearance, and many others follow.
In the dystopian world of post-globalization America, 17-year-old Omaha Hoyt must leave the farm and woods were he is most at ease and travel to the city to rescue his love. The plan is to stay on back roads and subsist off his trapping and foraging skills. Very quickly plans change and the lifelong Boy Scout is forced to help someone he meets along the way.
Omaha’s pocketknife gets lots of use, and his sister makes a survival girl’s dream barrette that is shaped like a butterfly with cutting edges, a fishing line wrap with hooks for antennae, and is apparently weighted for easy throwing as a weapon. In what one might consider the equivalent of a gun getting reloaded in a movie, in the book there is actually a knife-sharpening scene.
This is not to say that “Rugosa” is knife heavy. It’s first and foremost a survival story about a 17-year-old who uses his scout training to survive physical and emotional challenges. But knives are more than an essential tool in this book. They each have a story behind them. Even the knife used against the protagonist is rich in lore.
“Rugosa” is also equal part love story. An author must possess the emotional intelligence to remember what it was like to be 17 and be able to convey what’s going on in the heart of a young man before that youth necessarily understands his own emotions, never mind knows how to convey them. It’s hard not to come across as a mature adult when writing from the perspective of a teen, but Creek creates a believable character. You can read more about the wilderness survival instructor and knife co-collaborator at “Survivalist Creek’s Life Led Naturally to Whiskey Knives.”
The book's opening is slightly choppy, but only because editors now demand action begin in the fist paragraph. The beginning describes the farm and woods where Omaha lives with his mother and sister and the secret storage bunker he keeps hidden by “Rugosa.” It’s relaxed reading and idyllic, but once Omaha departs on his mission, the excitement is ramped up and the pace is non-stop. It’s easily read in a day or two.
You can get the paperback edition of “Rugosa” for $14.99 and the Kindle version for $3.99 through Amazon. Young-adult novels are one of the healthiest segments of publishing, probably because they’re fun for adults to read as well.
If you’d like to learn more about how Creek collaborated with Hank Gevedon of Reptile Toolworks to create Whiskey Knives, the bushcrafters that look like they stepped out of a 1700s mountain man’s kit, be sure to pick up the June 2017 edition of BLADE Magazine.
And yes, Creek is working on a follow-up novel to “Rugosa.” It takes place during the same timeframe but is told from the perspective of Omaha’s love interest, London, while she struggles to survive during the hostile takeover of Philadelphia.
Build a bug-out bag for your next adventure
Creek Stewart's top-selling non-fiction book is “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit.” You can get your copy here, for $9.85, a savings of 42 percent. In “Rugosa” Omaha packs his bug-out bag. Will you be ready with yours?
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