I found another Western with a female main character. Mari Mashay is a lady gambler who is taking a train from Texas to St. Louis Missouri. She has decided to give up gambling but her past has caught up with her. The train is The Prairie Queen and she is riding in the luxury car. A former beau and several interesting characters also are on board. I enjoyed this story since Mari is also the daughter of a doctor and uses her medical skills to help others. She wants to be independent in a time when women were expected to be married or worked in a saloon.
The two volumes of this book are a fascinating and highly enjoyable read for anyone interested in the interactions between various pulp, mystery, adventure, and science fiction characters with real people throughout history. The premise of this book is inspired by SF writer Philip José Farmer’s “Wold Newton” concept which he developed in the 1970s: a “radioactive” meteorite crashed near Wold Newton, England in 1795 and affected several carriages full of people who were passing by. Their descendants became highly intelligent and powerful heroes (or villains) such as Sherlock Holmes, Professor Moriarty, Dr. Fu Manchu, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke (aka Tarzan), and many more. Farmer wrote popular and detailed biographies of Tarzan and Doc Savage in which he detailed the family trees of many “Wold Newton Family” characters. Over time, the concept has been expanded and continued by others into the Crossover Universe. Win Scott Eckert has done a fantastic job of compiling references to literary heroes who have met each other (or “crossed over”) and had adventures together, and thus co-exist in the same fictional universe. Volume 1 covers the dawn of time up through 1939, and Volume 2 covers 1940 into the far future. Reading these two books is a fun and highly addictive experience!
It’s almost Christmas in the year 1889 in the Rocky Mountains. A train is on the way to Red Cliff with several passengers. Among them is two prisoners, one a real outlaw and the other the victim of a judge who is on the wrong side of the law. When the half brother of Santinelli, the outlaw, hires four men to stop the train and rescue him they don’t realize there is a lot of snow above the tracks. When they shoot their guns at the engineer the sound causes an avalanche. The train is stuck and the bad guys are in the car with all the food. They refuse to share with the rest of the passengers. A rescue train is sent but can’t get past the snow. Matt Jensen is aboard also and his friends Smoke Jensen and Duff MacCallister attempt to rescue the passengers and bring them food. William W. Johnstone has written a lot of westerns with The Preacher, a mountain man, as the main character. It’s said that he is dead but he somehow helps the rescuers find the train and save the passengers. Nice Christmas story.
Most families have one member who is a loner. Jubal Sackett is the loner of the Sackett clan. While his sister and brothers live around friends and family Jubal prefers the life of a nomad exploring America on foot. He learned from his father Barnabas how to survive and live in the wilderness. This story finds Jubal traveling west alone. He meets Keokotah, of the Kickapoo tribe, who also prefers his freedom and they travel together for a while and become friends. Louis L’Amour really had a way of describing the wilderness and wild life that is long gone now. I didn’t know there were wild parakeets living in America. Sadly they are extinct now.
This is the continuing story of Louis L’Amour’s Sacketts clan. In this book the two brothers Yance and Kin search for two girls who were kidnapped with the intention of selling them as slaves in the West Indes. When Kin discovers that they aren’t the first he decides to travel to Jamaica and stop any future abductions. Kin learns that the Sackett name is well known and helps him in his quest. One of the girls Diana is rumored to be a witch but that doesn’t stop Kin from falling in love.
A lot of the settlers who rode the Oregon trail had no idea what they were facing. If not for the mountain men most of them would’ve lost their way, been attacked by Indians or robbed and left for dead. This is the first in the Mountain Man series by Johnstone who has written many books about the west. Preacher, he won’t tell his real name, is a very likeable guy who respects the wilderness and the Indians. When he finds a group of lost settlers being attacked by Indians he helps them make it to the nearest Fort. He discovers their trail leader left them and probably planned to steal their gold. Preacher has lived in the wilderness since he was twelve years old and enjoys his solitude. But he also cares about people and animals.
Barnabas Sackett was a wanted man in England. He supposedly found the Crown Jewels and Queen Elizabeth wants them back. His only choice was to sail to America and start a new life. Along the way he makes friends and uses his skills to fight off pirates. He takes his future wife and whoever is willing to face the savages in 1600 America. Louis L’Amour’s books are always full of adventure and perils. You can’t put them down.
Cowboys & Aliens should have been called, “Cowboys, Indians & Aliens”, but what do I know. A lot exactly but that is a different story. Set in Arizona in 1873 When the Wild West was searching for an identity and the Native Indians were trying to hold on to their culture and land. At times, it was an epic struggle between The Cowboy and Indian for dominance and the love between each other wasn’t there…not at all. Then a foreign force from the sky crashes into this brutal land and sees all humans as pest and slaves. The feuding between the human factors must end so they may battle this new enemy. The idea of the book is intriguing and the moral aspect even more so but the whole story lacks over all depth and compassion.
Well, the title really does sum up the story pretty well. We start out in the 19th century wild west where the US cavalry are doing their best to realize their “manifest destiny”. Which, of course, includes fighting with the Native Americans who naturally aren’t too keen on the violent white invaders. So far, pretty accurate. And then a spaceship crashes. And its inhabitants view humans as primitive (and highly disposable) life forms. Irony! Now it’s up to the humans to put aside their quarrels in the name of preserving the human race. A bit obvious, but a lot of fun.