Robert Lautner

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Assistant: Megan Townend


About the author: 

Robert Lautner was born in Middlesex in 1970. Before becoming a writer heowned his own comic-book store, worked as a wine merchant, photographic consultant and recruitment consultant. He now lives on the Pembrokeshire coast in a wooden cabin with his wife and children.

Latest publication:


With the most compelling of plots and driven by unforgettable characters, ROAD TO RECKONING merits comparison to recent publishing and cinema hits – think of it as COLD MOUNTAIN meets TRUE GRIT as if remade by the Coen Brothers, or OH BROTHER WHERE ART THOU meets THE SISTERS BROTHERS.

With a spare and compact elegance, ROAD TO RECKONING is the account of Thomas Walker of New York City looking back on his first journey away from home across the roads and trails of 1830s Pennsylvania at the age of twelve, events which were to change his life forever.  His recently-widowed father, a travelling spectacle salesman who has decided to earn extra money by selling the “Improved Revolving Gun” recently invented by Samuel Colt, takes young Thomas with him on the road west.  But even the possession of the world’s first true revolver cannot save them from danger; and what starts as an adventure and a precious chance for Thomas to spend time alone with his father soon turns into a nightmare.  For Thomas to have any hope of returning home, he must rely on his own wits, courage, and determination, as well as a wooden replica of a gun and the grudging help of the surly ex-marshal, Henry Stands.

At the heart of this novel is the relationship between two unwilling companions, and the seemingly effortless ease with which it plays out in Lautner’s hands.  It’s about the world’s first true revolver, and it’s about a moment of transition in a nation and in a boy’s life.  Yet on a more universal level, ROAD TO RECKONING is about fatherhood and son-ship and the need we have for it.  It’s immersive, and thrilling – but it’s also deeply moving and genuinely affecting.  



“A thrilling, violent, dangerous piece of old-fashioned storytelling, that is also humane and unshowily moving.”Kate Saunders, The Times

“I loved it – compelling, gripping and beautiful.  Robert Lautner has written a poetic page-turner with precision and heart.” Stephen Kelman, author of Pigeon English

“This quiet triumph of a novel, a sad and impeccably nuanced tale set against a finely drawn landscape of early pioneer America, left me just amazed and delighted: it will surely establish Robert Lautner as a storyteller of the first order.” Simon Winchester, author of The Professor and the Madman

“Twisty, gripping, robust . . . Wears its meticulous research lightly.” Kirkus Reviews

“Remarkable… a novel about a young man reaching for manhood after the killing of his father and about the invention and selling of Col. Samuel Colt’s revolving pistol, and the way it changed the West. Those who love True Grit will love this.” Michael Korda, author of Hero

“Not a single needless word in The Road to Reckoning, a beautiful gem of a novel, exquisitely written and swiftly plotted. Set against a fascinating American landscape, with a heartbreakingly unforgettable character on a hero’s journey – it packs an old-fashioned emotional wallop.” Kathleen Grissom, author of The Kitchen House

The Road to Reckoning is a rare feat of storytelling. Robert Lautner has created something truly wonderful in the character of Thomas Walker – whose steady, strong voice I won't soon forget – and the vivid world he inhabits. This is a literary thriller in the best sense, simultaneously gritty and tender, rousing and lyrical.” Silas House, author of A Parchment of Leaves and Clay’s Quilt