Elmer Kelton, Author . Forge $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-7653-1021-7

A veteran writer of more than 40 western novels, seven-time Spur Award–winner Kelton again delivers careful plotting, colorful characters and vibrant action in this tale set largely in Mexican-ruled Texas. In 1816, the patriarch of the Lewis clan leaves its Tennessee farm to join a group of local adventurers who plan is to capture Texas wild horses and bring them back to sell. Lewis's 16-year-old son Michael sneaks off and joins them. When the party run into a Mexican military patrol at the Louisiana border led by the sadistic Lieutenant Rodriguez, Michael's father is murdered along with much of the party, and Michael is left to die on the prairie, but survives (with a little bit of deus ex machina aid) and returns home. Five years later, after suffering through a bloody family feud, Michael and a younger brother, Andrew, return to Texas to settle the score and stake out new lives for themselves. Michael eventually finds love, revenge and even future Texas hero Stephen F. Austin. Lucid sentences, few surprises, heavily dialected dialogue, authentically clipped emotions, careful historicism and smooth pacing give what could be a hokey story nice nuance. The second and third installments will cover the Alamo, Sam Houston and Texas independence. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/25/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-1296-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 336 pages - 978-0-7653-4897-5
Hardcover - 533 pages - 978-0-7862-7786-5
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4272-1652-6
Ebook - 304 pages - 978-1-4299-1282-2
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