cover image In the Rogue Blood

In the Rogue Blood

James Carlos Blake / Author Avon Books $23 (344p) ISBN 978-0-3

The 19th-century American West is brought vividly to life in Blake's (The Pistoleer and The Friends of Pancho Villa) raw and powerful third novel. After their family is destroyed by their father's alcohol-fueled incest and the resulting bloodshed, brothers Edward and John Little leave their shattered Florida home and light out for a Texas they idealize, hoping to settle their own piece of land in what they believe to be a paradisiacal new territory. Along the way, however, they confront the wild frontier. Far from the Eden they seek, it is a savage world rife with lynchings, bandits and scalpings. The brothers must face the fact that the violence in this savage land mirrors the violence in their own ""rogue blood,"" the dark legacy from their father that they can't outrun. Separated on their journey, John and Edward find themselves on opposing sides of the Mexican-American War. Soon, they are fighting not only on the battlefield but against each other and the ghosts of their own unacknowledged pasts. Demonstrating an extensive knowledge of the era, Blake captures the tone and atmosphere of gritty frontier life. Drunkenness, explicit sex, pain and blood give this tale a graphic authenticity that may turn off some readers. This frontier saga of two brothers confronting their inner demons in a howl of ""incessant screaming"" is a strikingly noir historical western, and an inventive addition to Blake's work. (Aug.)