A summer with Hermit King

William Todd

Book Cover



    Core Theme



    19th Century











    1888. Sixteen-year-old Auggie Rose witnesses a murder on a lonely road when he runs away from the orphanage he had been living at since the death of his parents. As he adjusts to life living like a hermit on Presque Isle, a peninsula on Lake Erie, he makes friends and does his best to forget about the murder. However, the murder won't leave him alone, and a plot is slowly revealed that will jeopardize him, his new friends, and the place he now calls home.

    Target Audiences

    Age: 18-34

    Target Gender: Universal


    Erie, PA (Presque Isle)

    Based on a True Story


    Publishing Details

    Status: Yes: self-published

    Starting Description

    Auggie Rose runs away from an orphanage to start a new life as a hermit on Presque Isle an witnesses a murder along the way.

    Ending Description

    The author has not yet written this

    Group Specific

    Information not completed

    Hard Copy Available



    Information not completed

    Mature Audience Themes

    Information not completed

    Plot - Other Elements

    Coming of Age, Happy Ending

    Plot - Premise

    Overcoming Monster/Villain

    Main Character Details

    Name: Auggie Rose

    Age: 16

    Gender: Male

    Role: Protagonist

    Key Traits: Adventurous, Aspiring, Empathetic, Faithful, Gracious, Honorable, Insecure, Modest, Perseverance

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Maisy

    Age: 18

    Gender: 18


    Key Traits: Adventurous, Crazy, Complex, Honorable, Modest, Lone Wolf, Outspoken, Selfless, Uneducated, Secretive

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Will Weston

    Age: 30

    Gender: Male


    Key Traits:

    Additional Character Details

    Name: Joe Root (The Hermit King)

    Age: 40

    Gender: Male


    Key Traits: Adventurous, Crazy, Complex, Honorable, Modest, Lone Wolf, Outspoken, Selfless, Uneducated, Secretive




    Late 1800s. Auggie, 16, runs away from his orphanage and camps out on the beach where he meets Joe, an old hermit, and Maisy, a pretty kitchen worker from a hotel. Auggie witnesses a murder, and a cop named Will enlists him to find the killer. They discover the killer’s identity, but the killer tries to murder Auggie until he’s saved by Maisy. Auggie goes to live with Will and proposes to Maisy.

    Overall Rating


    Point of View


    Narrative Elements

    Authors Writing Style: EXCELLENT

    Characterization: EXCELLENT

    Commerciality: GOOD

    Franchise Potential: GOOD


    Premise: GOOD

    Structure: EXCELLENT

    Theme: EXCELLENT

    Accuracy of Book Profile

    It is accurate.

    Draw of Story

    An orphan at the end of his rope.

    Possible Drawbacks


    Use of Special Effects


    Primary Hook of Story

    An orphan witnesses a murder.

    Fanbase Potential

    Good revues and word of mouth could lead to a decent fanbase.

    Awards Potential

    Yes. It would attract great talent that could lead to awards.

    Envisioned Budget


    Similar Films/TV Series


    What’s New About the Story

    It’s set in the late 1800s and It is unique enough with the setting and characters.

    Lead Characters

    Smart and capable, including a young orphan with a sad history.

    Uniqueness of Story

    Rare gem.

    Possible Formats

    Film: Studio, Indie, Streaming TV Series: Cable, Limited Run / Mini-Series

    Analyst Recommendation



    Very well-written and cinematic. There is love, murder, danger and interesting characters.


    Auggie ditches his abusive orphanage to live on the beach where he meets a helpful hermit. When he witnesses a murder, Auggie hooks up with a cop named Will to find the killer. He meets a girl and falls in love for the first time. With the help of a pretty heiress, the killer reveals himself when he tries to kill Auggie who fights for his life.

    What We Liked

    Late 1800s, Lake Erie. Auggie is a teenager who is on his own since his parents’ deaths. He goes to live on the beach where he meets Joe, a legendary hermit.
    Joe shows him the ropes on living outdoors and Auggie meets a pretty young girl named Maisy. Their budding romance is cute, especially since Auggie’s life is rocky and about to get dangerous. Auggie is a smart and capable teenager, and a kind cop adopts him as they try and solve a murder together. When the murderer finds that Auggie witnessed his crime, Auggie is in big trouble. The story is well told and cinematic. There is plenty of drama, romance and danger in this very well-written story with a strong “need to know” component.

    Film: The location and time period has great cinematic value. There is a strong “need
    to know” with empathy-worthy characters. The structure is sound. Attractive characters and dialogue should attract top name talent. There is action and intrigue, good guys and bad guys.

    TV: This would make a great TV show since there are enough dramatic “need to knows” that would keep viewers coming back. The characters are wonderful and feel real. Dialogue also feels real but is also clever.

    Key points:
    The beautiful setting
    Interesting characters
    Good dialogue
    Strong “need to know”
    Action and intrigue


    1888. AUGGIE, 16, awakes with a panic attack. He’s in a boy’s orphanage and wonders if he should run away. It’s leave or die for him. The bullying is too much.

    Sister Bea was the only nun he liked and she was suspicious about what he is going through although he never squealed about the bullying. He put his belongings in a pillowcase and sneaks out while everyone else is asleep. Outside, he hides in bushes when two men meet up and have a conversation.
    One is a lawyer, the other a wealthy man who wants to employ the lawyer. The lawyer refuses and the wealthy man shoots him dead. Scared, Auggie passes out in the bushes. The next morning he wakes up and, out of Christian guilt, takes the dead man’s hat to mark where someone might find his hidden body. He goes to the local hotel and peers in a window to the kitchen.
    MAISY, late teens, sees him and gives him eggs to eat then offers lunch for him later if he comes back during her break. He agrees. He wanders down to Lake Erie and cleans up in the water but someone has stolen his clothes. He meets JOE ROOT, the hermit he’s hear about, and gets his clothes back - the theft of which Joe blames
    on the “Jeebees.” Joe talks to the unseen “little people” and Auggie thinks he hears squeaks in the bushes. He informs Joe that he intends to stay there on Presque Isle and Joe has no objections.
    Auggie asks Joe if he can be of assistance in helping him find a place to camp and Joe says it’s a big island he can camp where he likes, but he would loan Auggie one of his shacks to stay in until he finds somewhere he likes. The shack is a bunch of garbage fashioned into a lean-to. He goes to meet Maisy who brings him lunch and tells him about the dead man that was found.

    There was a married woman sleeping in his bed and she was arrested. She gives him some matches to start a fire. He is grateful
    and tells her he left the orphanage. They have an easy rapport. The next morning Auggie overhears two men talking about the murder and it’s clear they’re involved with the murderer. He throws up from anxiety. He meets Maisy for breakfast and tells her what he knows about the murder. He feels guilty about the woman who was arrested and Maisy suggests he send an anonymous letter to the police.

    Back at his shack he runs into Joe who came to check on him. Joe gives him some advice on living near the lake. He shows him what seems to be a meadow but is actually a dangerous swamp that could swallow a person up. Joe warns of rain coming so Auggie reinforces his shack and gathers dry wood. He finds the paper and pencil that Maisy left him, along with the local newspaper talking about the murdered lawyer.
    Auggie resolves to go to the burial. He recalls a time he was severely bullied by one of the other boys at the orphanage. He was burned with a cigarette and forced to eat animal remains from the attic. He goes to the funeral service for the lawyer, and watches from a distance. Only one big man stood listening to the sermon. Auggie recalled how his mother confronted his father with his infidelity and his father shot his mother and then himself.
    He doesn’t notice as the big man grabs him and wants to know what he’s doing here. Auggie confesses he saw the shooting. The man says he’s a police officer and wants to know more so they take a carriage to the nice part of town and the man gives it back to whom he borrowed it from. Will promises Auggie bacon and a change of clothes. At Will’s house, Auggie learns that his wife and son died in a train accident. Auggie sits and recounts what he can about the man who shot Will’s cousin, the lawyer. Will scribbles down notes and thinks that the killer - who had a limp - might be a Civil War veteran and will probably be at a big event for veterans coming up. He asks Auggie if he’ll go with him and mingle and see if he recognizes the killer. He hesitantly agrees, and Will promises that’s all he’ll have to do.
    Auggie finds Maisy on the bench where they meet, and she’s angry he didn’t show up until then but he explains his reasons. No one should be buried alone. His parents were buried and he was the only one there. She accepts his apology. They climb a huge tree and enjoy the view. They hold hands.

    The next day, Auggie goes to find Joe. He finds the man sitting by the water but catatonic. Auggie wonders why, but goes and has lunch with Maisy. She tells him Will is there looking through the hotel registry. Maisy questions Auggie’s intentions, and Auggie says he thinks there something bad going on centered around the hotel. He tells her he won’t interfere with anything but knowledge if he finds out what’s really going on there. Will shows up and is introduced to Maisy, and she is pleased to find out Auggie already told Will about her. They convince Will that they can work as a team and help solve the murder. Will is reluctant but says yes, only if they observe but do not engage. Will instructs Auggie to be ready at nine a.m. Saturday morning for a carriage to pick him up and take him to the veteran’s event. Maisy is happy that Auggie wants her by his side and Auggie thinks to himself this must be love.

    Auggie is taken to the event by the haughty butler MR. HOYT. He runs off and finds JULIA, a pretty woman whom Will told him about. Auggie charms her, then runs off when he sees Will. Will sends Auggie off on his mission. He’s taken aback by the injuries some of the veterans have and helps a man in a wheelchair get out of the mud. Auggie walks around and hears a man he’s almost sure is the murderer. Will goes to talk to the man and finds out he’s staying at a different hotel but that doesn’t mean he’s not the right man. He meets another man and now has two suspects, Robert Kelly and John Hoover.
    Julia tells Will they will have dinner at the hotel the two suspects are staying in and maybe they can find out more. Auggie finds out from Julia that Will comes from a wealthy family. Auggie sits near the water reflecting when Joe comes along. They talk about the businesses that are shutting their doors in the area. Joe thinks something isn’t right. He gets a reluctant Auggie to help him steal green tomatoes from the lighthouse keeper, who comes out into the night and shakes his fist at Joe. Auggie takes a couple tomatoes and goes to the dock and sits looking at the water. Maisy joins him. He’s a little bitter that it’s been so long since they’ve seen each other. She tells him that she grew up with just her mother since her father ran off when she was pregnant.

    They bounced around with relatives but ended up in the poor house and her mother ran off in the middle of the night when she was 14. She was lucky enough to get picked to work at the hotel. She now lives with a nominally religious aunt who takes a lot of her earnings. She disappoints Auggie by saying that their relationship probably won’t last past the summer. CARL, a creepy worker from the hotel, asks what Auggie is doing there - but Maisy tells him to get lost. They go to Auggies shack and eat.

    When they’re about to kiss, Joe pops in and tells them that Sammy Waterson was found dead. Will shows up and tells them it might not be safe out here. Will takes Auggie and Maisy to Julia’s waiting carriage, promising them lunch. Back at Julia’s mansion, servants feed them. Will tells them the chief wouldn’t give the case to Will since it was his cousin who was murdered. He says he will not put them in danger. There seems to be something more than friendship between Will and Julia. Will goes on to say that their suspect Hoover is leaving the area but the other suspect Kelley has an open tab on his hotel rooms. Will says he found his dead cousin’s calendar, and the only person on it when he was killed was Mayor Barr, whom is now suspected to be involved.

    Will checks the mayor’s calendar, but he is out of town. After lunch, Auggie tells Will he can see that Julia has an interest in him. Will invites Auggie to come stay with him since it might be dangerous out alone in his shack. They say their goodbyes and Auggie and Maisy go back to the hotel where lots of people are milling around the grounds. Auggie and Maisy talk about their relationship. It’s clear they’re both smitten.

    Maisy catches up with Auggie who is clandestinely following Joe. Joe gets on a boat, so Maisy and Auggie find a boat that takes them in the same direction. They get off in downtown Erie and Joe is easy to find. They see someone is following Joe already and when Joe takes his seat in a tavern the man sits across from him. They see the man surreptitiously put something in Joe’s drink.
    They fake a fire next to the tavern with smoke coming from a barrel and everyone runs out. Joe doesn’t drink the tainted beer. Auggie sees a man limping around a carriage and thinks it must be their suspect, Kelley. They inform Will of what they saw, and Will insists that Auggie stay with him to keep him out of danger.
    Back on the grounds of the hotel, he sees Carl heading somewhere and another man following him. Auggie follows them inside and realizes these are the two men who talking in the maze. Also, one of them is the man who tried to poison Joe. He hides behind some tubas but accidentally knocks them down with a big crash. The two men give chase as he runs out. He hides in the basket of a hot air balloon being set up for a big party at the hotel. The man untethered the balloon and Auggie is hoisted into the air and out over the lake. He’s terrified, and the balloon starts to fall into the water. The wicker basket starts to fill, and Auggie yells at the nearest boat which comes to his aid. FRODI, a young guy on the boat, pulls Auggie out of the water and introduces himself. He says he can only head home now which is 18 miles from Erie. Auggie says his friends can pay him a day’s wages if he gets back, and Frodi says he can take his horse and buggy and get Auggie home. They go to Julia’s, who happily pays a shocked Frodi $200 for his trouble. She gives Auggie a list of the families that summer there to give to Will - and Auggie is stunned by one name and he and Frodi take off. They get to the hotel which is consumed by fire. He tries to go in and save Maisy but Will grabs him and says it’s too late for Maisy. Auggie sobs.

    The crowd turns on Joe, with someone claiming to have seen him near the hotel with a can of kerosine.
    Auggie tells everyone it isn’t Joe - it’s Carl. No one can find Carl. Will asks him what he knows and Auggie tells him he looked at the list and realized it was the man in the wheelchair, Van Guilder, and his assistant who he heard talking that night. Will believes him, but says Joe would be safer in the jail for the night. He gives Auggie a key to his house and tells him to go back there. Also, he wants
    Auggie there permanently. Will says he knows a few cops who aren’t corrupt and will hunt down Van Guilder and his assistant. He tells Auggie to say goodbye to Maisy. Auggie falls asleep in his shack, but is awakened by Van Guilder, aiming a gun at him. He can walk. His plan was to buy the hotel and erect a steel mill but the owner wouldn’t sell - so he burned the place down. Grateful to Auggie for helping him at the festival, he gives him a head start before he starts shooting and Auggie takes off down a path toward the hotel. Bullets whiz by him. He stops at the deadly swamp. He’s trapped. Van Guilder has caught up to him until he’s whacked in the head by someone with a big branch and drowns in the water. It’s Maisy. Auggie grabs her and finally kisses her. She was out looking for him after hearing about the hot air balloon and she got lost. He tells her he loves her.

    Later, Will and Julia join them and she T declares them a family. She has a neighbor that needs kitchen help three blocks away so Maisy will have a home. Two years later, and Auggie has grown some. He is saddened to read that Joe died, in a home for the mentally ill instead of on the island he loved. Auggie takes his engagement ring to go meet Maisy.

    About The Author

    William Todd has been writing online for nearly 20 years, primarily writing horror stories in the style of Poe and Lovecraft.