POWER IN THE BLOOD by Greg Matthews


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 A family epic set in the Wild West during the decades following the Civil War, with a telekinetic twist--the latest from Western specialist Matthews (One True Thing, 1989, etc.) is big, bloody, and breezy, but runs out of gas by the end. Three orphaned Dugans--two brothers and a sister--are sent from New York to the Midwest and adopted by different families, in spite of their wish to remain together. They vow to reunite quickly, but circumstances conspire against them. Clay, the eldest, finds a good home as the son of an educated farmer; but when the man is murdered by the brother of his hired hand, Clay becomes a killer himself in revenge, receiving a terrible wound through his cheeks in the process. Brother Drew fares little better, as his adopted father hears voices that tell him to take his family to the desert, where his mother dies of thirst and he barely escapes playing Isaac to his raving dad's Abraham. Meanwhile, sister Zoe is raped by her new father, gives birth to a girl with a vivid blue mark covering half her face, and is turned out to fend for herself and her child. And that's only the beginning. Clay turns into a humorless lawman and bounty hunter, Drew into a bank and train robber, and Zoe becomes the wife of the richest man in the West, having found herself a fantastic vein of gold high in the Colorado Rockies with the help of daughter Omie's unerring second sight. After much bloodshed and unhappiness, the three cross paths again, joining forces to deny Zoe's faithless, murdering husband his grandest conceit: a massive elk made entirely of her gold. Unfortunately, death isn't far behind them, and the Dugans are quickly eliminated after dumping the elk into a chasm. Redolent with frontier flavors, but the violence and menace, and even the supernatural effects, ultimately prove more gratuitous than gripping.

Pub Date: March 17th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-017969-4
Page count: 848pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993


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