Virgin River

Richard S. Wheeler, Author . Forge $25.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0709-5

Barnaby Skye returns for his 16th stirring western (after The Canyon of Bones ) set primarily in pre–Civil War southern Utah. Skye, exiled from England, views himself as an outcast, “an empty-purse man of the wilderness,” who makes his living “guiding Yanks in their endless westering.” He has two Native American wives, Mary, a Shoshone, and Victoria, an Absaroka Crow. Mary's recently given birth to his son Dirk (whose Indian name is North Star) and Skye's hungry for a job to support them. He agrees to guide Hiram Peacock's New Bedford Infirmary Company wagon train—which includes 10 young seriously ill consumptives in hope of a cure—to a desert place. With wives and son in tow, Skye guides Peacock's charges, overcoming obstacles from other immigrant trains who fear the “plague party” as they follow the California Trail and pass through unknown territory. Unfortunately, they must deal with Paiute Indians and militias drawn from angry Mormon settlements in conflict with the government over polygamy. Wheeler's lucid prose and excellent eye for detail make history come alive once again. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/14/2008
Release date: 03/01/2008
Mass Market Paperbound - 320 pages - 978-0-7653-4636-0
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-1-4299-9265-7
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