cover image Black Sun

Black Sun

Terry C. Johnston. St. Martin's Press, $7.99 (416pp) ISBN 978-0-312-92465-2

Armchair cowboys hankering for the excitement of military campaigns may enjoy this tale of the Old West, where white men are brave, red men are savages and women are better off someplace else. Other readers, however, will find their patience tried by the work's limited perspective and its facile reduction of motives to good and evil. This new addition to Johnston's ( The Stalkers ) Plainsmen series continues the story of Seamus Donegan, who is hired as a civilian scout by the U.S. Fifth Cavalry's chief of scouts--none other than ``Buffalo Bill'' Cody; the two promptly become fast friends. The Fifth's mission is to drive the Plains Indians toward Custer's Seventh Cavalry. Although they put in long hours tracking and withstanding attacks by the Cheyenne, Donegan and Cody occasionally have some fun: when ``Wild Bill'' Hickok spends some time with the Fifth, they hijack a beer shipment en route to another army outpost (an event that the author, in his introduction, assures us did take place) and whup some Mexican scouts in a fistfight, even though the three of them are pitted against 15 of those ``blood-eyed greasers.'' (Apr.)