Email this review


Lively pre-Civil War Western with an unusual ladling of sex, by the author of The Assassins (1989) and The Shadow Man (1988). Parker weaves three major plotlines into a steadily gripping story that advances on a heavy diet of murder, robbery, gunfire, and rape. Down in Texas, Nathan Tolliver returns to his ranch, which he shares with his retarded twin Jason, to find Jason strung from a tree. Nathan kills two of the three land-grabbers who murdered Jason, but their leader escapes. Nathan sets out in pursuit. Meanwhile, the robber DeBreen and cohorts murder some fur-traders who are bringing their furs down the Missouri to St. Joe. Sam Wilde, a fur-trader shot from his raft, survives and sets out in pursuit of DeBreen. Also meanwhile, in Liverpool, England, Caroline Shepherd desires to escape misery by joining the Mormon brides going to America, bound for Brigham Young's church in Utah. On the high seas she stabs the captain to death when he tries to rape her during a storm, then has a male friend throw the body overboard. When the hundred-plus brides reach St. Joe, they buy handcarts and, putting themselves in bridles, begin the 1300-mile trek to Young's settlement. A wealthy man in St. Joe, whose daughter has gone off with the Mormons, hires DeBreen to kill all the Mormon leaders on the way. Nathan Tolliver falls in with some young Texans who have heard that all these pretty women are crossing the prairie and that they could pick and choose among them for wives. Eventually, DeBreen, Sam Wilde and Nathan are all among the Mormons--and Caroline falls for Nathan when he saves her from rape before the final shootout. Vengeance, strong descriptive writing, along with humor about the Texans lolly-gagging after the pretty women, keep the pages flipping.

Pub Date: July 30th, 1990
Publisher: New American Library