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Tuesday, 14 October 2008


SMP Historical westerns
UK £3.99

This is the first in the late Ralph Compton's trail driver series - I've previously read the third entry, The Chisholm Trail but the books can be read in any order because the series is largely linked by theme rather than a linear character story. Though the second book in the series, The Western Trail does follow on from this one somewhat, sharing principal characters for a start but the books can still be pretty much be read in any order.

Once again the book grips from the first few pages and you ain't putting it down until you've raced to the end. I found myself grabbing this book and taking every opportunity I could to read more. There's a truly epic story within these covers with characters that are authentically real and there is so much of the minutia of western life that you can almost smell the trail dust as the characters drive them onwards creating new trails and forging a place in American history.

The main character is Benton McCaleb, a likeable tough character of the kind John Wayne used to play so well, but it really is a large cast and I found that the Apache character Goose stole every scene he was in. There's romance, suspense, comedy and heart stopping action in equal measure. One particular stampede scene is so well written that it plays out in the minds eye with a cinematic granduer that John Ford would have been proud of

If you like books that mix fiction with historical fact then you'll love this western series. Ten thousand wild longhorns...two thousand treacherous miles...only a handful of men with the guts to tame both.


Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds very interesting. I'm going to check around for these today.


Charles - You'll love these - I'm doing the western trail now and it's equally good. These are truly epic traditional westerns full of interesting historical fact. The series has been continued after Compton's death and I would be interested if anyone has read the others in the series. Are these any good?

pattinase (abbott) said...

How about if I include this in Friday's Forgotten Books. We have a lot of western fans.


Pattinase - yes please do. I look forward to seeing it.