Friday, 1 August 2008

Blood Lands

by Ralph Cotton
Signet, June 2006

They came upon Julie Wilder without warning and, in an act of vicious cruelty, left her father dead and her body and spirit violated. It took the kindness of a reputed killer named Baines Meredith to nurse Julie back to health and help restore her dignity. The men who abused her believe themselves safe in their anonymity, but soon Julie will know who her tormenters are - and, thanks to Baines Meredith, how to exact revenge...

A book that begins towards the end of the Civil War, and with a band of outlaws who use the Union cause to justify their atrocities, riding and raiding unchallenged. Cotton takes time to introduce the reader to the main characters, drawing a clear line between good and bad. Action scenes come at regular intervals and are tough and brutal.

Although this plot isn’t a new one in westerns - even Cotton has written along these lines before as Ralph Compton - it’s interesting to see the changes Julie goes through: her life before she’s attacked, her fear of her perpetrators, then finding the strength and courage to face upto them.

Cotton does make a mistake in having a pair of spurs change owners.

Even with this oversight the book was an entertaining read.

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