A contemporary tale of two brothers, both horse trainers and rivals, and the tragedy that ensues when one kills the other.
Silas and Frank Van Loy have a complicated relationship. They’re both a bit wild, a bit co-dependent, and more than a bit antagonistic toward each other. The novel opens immediately after Silas, the younger brother, has shot and killed Frank. He flees on horseback, for him a natural mode of transportation, over the landscape of Marin County in northern California. At least two issues complicate the psychology, the ethics, and the logistics of this fraternal relationship and murder. First, Frank was married to Lena, who hates Silas. When she finds out what happened, she takes off in pursuit, also on horseback, with the intent to kill him. Second, when we finally see Frank and Silas' final confrontation, toward the end of the book, the shooting turns out to have been less vengeful than it seemed. The narrative moves briskly on a number of levels. While we follow Lena’s pursuit of Silas, we also get generous flashbacks into the brothers’ lives, especially their rivalry in the world of horse training (Silas’ career was thriving while Frank’s was declining) and the almost unaccountable depth of their hatred (earlier Frank had shot Silas, and on the surface, their argument had been about a Stetson hat). Stansel writes well and moves effortlessly from past to present and from the perspectives of Silas and Frank to that of Lena.
A stirring narrative of hostility, pursuit, and the desire for vengeance.