I’m always game for a good adventure story, and this certainly fit that description. L’Amour’s storytelling style and historical detail always bring to life the men who settled America. Since Kings Mountain and Patrick Ferguson figure into my own current project (see more about that here), the title particularly caught my eye. It’s now commonly believed that Ferguson improved the breech-loading concept but did not invent it; either version fits with the events in this story. I applaud L’Amour’s ability to clearly portray his characters’ loyalties while acknowledging that Ferguson was admired by men on both sides (though certainly not the men he faced at Kings Mountain).
It’s fairly common these days, and has been for quite some time, to call a number of things Christian that really aren’t. I am aware of Latter-Day Saints who consider their beliefs compatible with biblical Christianity, and I am also aware that many of them probably do not realize some of what their beliefs actually are. Thelma Geer is quite clear in this book that much of LDS teaching is not publicized to those who are not part of the “inner circle,” so to speak. She also made it quite clear that many early LDS beliefs have been repudiated…or have they?
Overall, this was a sweet story. I was intrigued by the premise of a man fighting to protect a woman’s children outside of the typical romance storyline. Yes, there was some romance, but it was gentle and woven into the story in a way that didn’t take central stage. Wade was a strong character trying to do the right thing and yet still sometimes questioning if it really was the right thing. I loved seeing him with Starr’s kids and how they all related to each other.
Just what I was looking for, even as a re-read. A bit predictable, perhaps, and far too abrupt at the climax, even for Bunn. That’s the moment when I want to see what’s happening and watch it unfold. But altogether, this is an enjoyable read. Because several of Bunn’s books have strayed into speculative fiction, which is not my cup of tea, I wasn’t sure how realistic the presentation of this fantastic new invention would be, but it comes across as very plausible—although no one seems to address whether “free power for the masses” is really an effective way to solve a country’s problems. It would have been nice if the terms were more precise than “the apparatus,” “the machine,” “the device,” etc., but perhaps Bunn didn’t know what to call it either.
I’m one of those authors who finds it a bit strange to review one’s own books. But I have a couple of announcements to make regarding this novel of mine, and I thought it would be a good time to share some of my favorite (and not so favorite) parts of this story and its process.
First, the announcements: New cover design! No, it’s not much different than the original design, but I love the colonial-style typography and the addition of hazy sunset mountains behind the silhouette of our hero. It reminds me of this story’s setting and the “quest” feel of the second half in particular. (Promise of Refuge, the short story prequel to Preacher on the Run, also has new cover art.)