cover image Sudden Country

Sudden Country

Loren D. Estleman / Author, Loren D. Estelman / Author Doubled

Estleman ( Bloody Season ) sets this western adaptation of Treasure Island 20 years after the Civil War in Panhandle, Okla., where 13-year-old David Grayle's mother owns a boardinghouse. A strange visitor, Jotham Flynn, fresh out of jail, has come to tell his story to Judge Blod, a writer of dime novels and a boarder at the Grayle home. As it turns out, Flynn has a treasure map that leads to a fortune in gold stolen from the Union Army back in '63 by Quantrill's Raiders, a band of outlaws. Flynn is murdered by a passel of persons unknown, the map falls into David's hands and Judge Blod, David and David's schoolteacher, ex-Union officer Henry Knox, decide to mount an expedition to the Dakota Badlands to recover the gold. In order to recruit firepower (much of Dakota is held by hostile Sioux), the three hire Ben Wedlock, unaware unlock his cohorts Little do they know that he's ``Black Ben,'' Flynn's arch foe, and that most of his cohorts the men he hires are ex-Raiders. Punctiliously true to Stevenson's classic in tone and plot, this brisk and very entertaining version offers some great transatlanticisms, from the songs the bad guys sing to the dubious past and the fate of a Missouri-bred Long John Silver. (June)