The concluding novel in Manfred's quintet about the far West, this is the most original if perverse instalment. The ""king of spades"" is Earl Ransom, a lad with a death wish like an anviltop thunderhead. He has good reason, through his vled portals of amnesia, to wish himself dead. Untimely ripped from his mother's womb when she was thirteen, Earl's memory has later blanked out the fact that he shot his father because his father had shot Earl's mother (for sleeping with Earl). Now Earl is twenty (his mother thirty three) and he does not realize that both parents had survived the blasts in the bedroom. He is roaming the gold fields around Cheyenne and Deadwood when a one-eyed madam wearing a black patch seduces him, and takes him on as her common law husband. Yes, it's his mother, and her lust for him becomes insatiable, and Earl finds a wild mountain nymph in a cave, and society impinges, and finally Earl predictably drills the living daylights into mama.... Oedipus with sixguns.