Best of Enemies

Suzanne Pierson Ellison, Author
Suzanne Pierson Ellison, Author Northland Publishing $12.95 (200p) ISBN 978-0-87358-714-3
Reviewed on: 12/01/1981
Release date: 12/01/1981
Ellison (The Last Warrior) combines Wild West adventure with Civil War history to show how three adversaries from different cultures join forces in desperate times. Mundo Rivera, son of the wealthy owner of Roadrunner Ranch in New Mexico, leaves home anxious to fight the ""land-greedy"" Texans and ""determined to prove himself a soldier defending his beloved land."" But he fails his first test of manhood when his fear sends him fleeing from battle (""Mundo's mind went numb. His stomach heaved. And then he started shaking""). The only hiding place he can find in the barren desert is already occupied by a severely wounded Texas soldier named Riley. Tenchi, an escaped Navajo slave (who, coincidentally, was to be presented as a wedding gift for Mundo's sister) stumbles across the two boys when she, too, seeks refuge. With their survival at stake, the unlikely trio bands together. Improbabilities abound as the three overcome enormous obstacles--capture by a band of rustlers, an earthquake, near starvation (all while Riley is bleeding to death); more convincing are their cautious advances in building trust and the stories they swap about their backgrounds. Readers will be keenly aware of the author's presence as she draws the characters together and leads them to safety (and drops pertinent facts about the era). However, those readers eager for an updated cowboys and Indians story may be willing to overlook her too-obvious orchestration of events. Ages 12-up. (Nov.)
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