RIDERS OF THE SILENCES by Max Brand

RIDERS OF THE SILENCES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The poet of the Western range returns in a bloody revenge shoot 'em-up, this time based in part on Arthurian legends. To say that the hero and villain here are larger than life is under. statement: they loom with legend, their every word and gesture infused with magical powers. The hero, known variously as Pierre le Rouge or Red Pierre, is the bastard child of Martin Ryder and his red-haired mistress Irene. Pierre is sent off as a baby to be raised by Canadian friars. For a reason never explained, he is trained to be an unbeatable fighting machine, the greatest wrestler and hip shot in the north as well as a spiritual Galahad who bears the cross under his robe. When his wounded father sends a note requesting his attendance, Pierre--surprised to find that he has a father--rides a horse to death, then winds a second one, covering over a thousand miles to the States in his billowing friar's robe. Before he dies, his father points out Pierre's two ugly wolf-faced brothers, who await only their inheritance, and admits that he was wounded in a fair fight with McGurk, the terror of the West. McGurk, a beastly creature (his face ever hidden from sight) modeled on the Green Knight Sir Gawain fights, is an even faster draw than Pierre, and in their first shoot out Pierre is wounded twice by the sorcerous gunman, though McGurk's magic is tarnished by a wound from Pierre. For six years Pierre hides in the hills, riding with a girl named Jack, who comports herself as a man, until his final shoot-out with McGurk (who is aided by his magical horse), which McGurk survives. Spellbinding, though the dialogue is wildly overblown. This is, however, a Western for Rhodes scholars, not your usual Zane Grey yard of homespun.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1986
ISBN: 160450403X
Publisher: Dodd, Mead