Will Sparrow, liar and thief, is running away—from the father who sold him for beer, from the innkeeper who threatened to sell him as a chimney sweep, from his whole sorry life. Barefoot and penniless, without family, friends, or boots, Will is determined to avoid capture and, of course, to find something to eat.
Some of the travelers he meets on the road have a kind word for him and a promise of better things to come, such as coins and juicy beef ribs. Eager to go along, Will repeatedly finds himself tricked by older and wiser tricksters. Each time, he resolves afresh to trust no one and care for no one. But luckily for Will, he can’t keep his guard up forever.
The lively goings-on behind the scenes of Elizabethan market fairs provide a colorful, earthy backdrop for Karen Cushman’s wise and funny story of a runaway who finally, and unexpectedly, stops running.