cover image Buffalo Palace

Buffalo Palace

Terry C. Johnston. Bantam Books, $22.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-09074-1

Frontier adventurer Titus Bass is back for a fifth wrangle in Johnston's ongoing saga. In 1825 St. Louis, Titus snaps out of the drunken lethargy he fell into in Dance on the Wind (1995) and finally heads west toward the mountains, plains and buffalo he has always dreamed of. Traveling alone, Titus revels in the quiet solitude and freedom of the open prairie and wide skies, but he is always wary of unknown dangers. Afoot after losing his horses, he is rescued by a trio of rough and tumble beaver trappers who take him in and teach him how to survive in the wild. Titus and his trapper pals wander over the plains and mountains, trapping beaver and hunting game, trying to keep their scalps from being lifted by ferocious Blackfeet and Arapaho. Meeting other trappers and traders at an annual rendezvous, the unwashed mountain men trade their beaver pelts for a bath, whiskey, squaws and supplies, and their solitary lives for a few days of drunken companionship. Through clouds of flint-tipped arrows and black-powder gunsmoke, Titus thrives until treachery spoils his idyll. Rich in historical lore and dramatic description, this is a first-rate addition to a solid series, a rousing tale of one man's search for independence in the unspoiled beauty of the old West. (Oct.)