I think it is fair to say that I am a huge Robert B. Parker fan. That disclaimer having been allowed, let me say that Chasing the Bear, A Young Spenser novel, sets just the right tone for the adventures of the sleuth later in life. Told in flashbacks, it sports the themes familiar to all of Dr. Parker's fans. That of honor, keeping one's word and standing up for what's right. The fact that the Spenser in this quest is 14 years old is unremarkable for the attributes that make him the Spenser his public loves today are well grounded in substance. I had always wondered how this telling of background would have been accomplished. Yet accomplish it Parker does, with great aplomb.
The characters are fresh, but if you are expecting to see a young Hawk, or Quirk or Belson or Susan Silverman, you will be disappointed. Yet for a fourteen year old to read Chasing the Bear and leap to The Godwulf Manuscript is a pretty big leap. Hopefully, there will be a few more "Young Spenser" books dealing with his move to Boston, his time in the Army and his adventures with the staties before he became a private license.
I highly recommend this book and have purchased a copy of this book for my godson. Then its over to Edenville Owls and The Boxer and the Spy. One last thing, perhaps the vocabulary isn't as intense as a regular Spenser novel, but Robert B.Parker honors his audience by not talking down to them. No surprise there.