WINTER RAIN by Terry C. Johnston


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 Prolific Johnston's (the Son of the Plains series; The Plainsmen series) vision of the West continues--grim, bleak, and unrelenting--in this sequel to Cry of the Hawk (1992). Having been reunited with his daughter, Hattie, aptly named Jonah Hook still must find his two sons and his wife, Gritta. Jonah's family had been previously abducted from their Missouri farm by Mormon brigands while he was off with Johnny Reb fighting Indians in the West as a ``galvanized Yankee.'' Now, after several hard years, Jonah is hot on the trail of abductor Jubilee Usher and his ``Avenging Angels.'' Poor Jonah loses the scent, though, when Brigham Young disavows Usher and banishes him before Jonah arrives in Salt Lake. So, sided by Shoshone Two Sleep, he wanders down to Sonora and later north up to Texas's Llano Estacado searching for his sons, whom he learns the Comanches have taken. (This over several more years.) Meanwhile, Jonah's mentor, old-time mountain man Shadrach Sweete, is scouting for the cavalry hot in pursuit of Tall Bull's Cheyenne. Among them is Sweete's son, High-Backed Bull, who's sworn to kill his father because he detests his white half. Johnston, injecting plenty of gunsmoke and violence, real and imagined, into his work, makes the reader privy to actual battles (Adobe Wells, etc.), all the more interesting because they're depicted mainly from the Indian point-of-view--plus barroom brawls, Indian pony raids, etc. Gritta is not recovered, making way for another installment. Realistic, full-fleshed characters and action permeated with the rank smell of grease, the creak of saddle leather, the screams of the dying and wounded. No surprises lie in wait, though, for those familiar with Western history and events.

Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-553-09508-0
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1993


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