Friday, September 01, 2006

Dark Thicket, by Elmer Kelton

(pb; 1985)

From the back cover:

“Young Owen Danforth rides home to Texas as a wounded Confederate soldier, at a time when his home state is as savagely divided as his nation. As a grievously wounded America stumbles towards the inevitable end of the Civil War, secessionist 'home guards' and staunch Union loyalists fight their own bloody battles on a more local scale. For Owen, sick to death of fighting and yearning for peace and recuperation, his homecoming is bittersweet. And when his blood ties force him to choose a side in an unwinnable conflict, Owen begins to wonder if he will ever see peace in Texas again.”


Unrelenting tension, tight story-plotting, captivating violence, and relatable characters made this damn near impossible to put down. The anger and frustration of many of the characters is tempered by forgiveness and understanding, imbuing its lean 183 pages with a timeless and universal appeal.

One of the best Westerns I've read in a long time, possibly one of my all-time favorites.

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