Greenwillow Books, 2009. 118 pgs. Juvenile fiction.
Hungry and cold in the streets of London, a young beggar boy is startled by the sudden arrival of a gentleman on a great black horse who promises the lad a golden guinea if he will hold onto the animal until he comes back. The boy is touched by the man's kindness and manages to hang onto the horse against all odds--and potential thieves until the king's guard shows up, claiming the horse belongs to the notorious highwayman Dick Turpin. Then the horse and boy become bait in a trap as the soldiers await Turpin's return. When Turpin doesn't return, the soldiers close in on the boy to take the horse away so he leaps on Black Bess's back and they make a run for it. At least, that is the story the boy tells but Thompson's surprising little twist at the end of the book makes one wonder what really might have happened. A short, exciting story, especially good for reluctant readers of required historical fiction.