Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Comanchero Rendezvous

as by Mark Bannerman
A Black Horse Western from Hale, 1999

Major John Willard is sent on a special mission by the president himself. This will take him to the Staked Plains of Texas, a region both repellent and menacing, a land of death inhabited by Indians and outlaws. Well hidden within its wildest depths is the stronghold of an embittered band of ex-Confederates. Even though the Civil War is over they continue to fight on by inciting the Indians to attack the Federal Army. Willard’s mission is to bring peace to the region.

This author (Anthony Lewing writing as Mark Bannerman) doesn’t believe in making life easy for his hero, even before the mission has hardly begun the complications set in. It seems that people other than the president have an interest in the outcome of Willard’s mission, such as Edward Sanderson and his mysterious jade-eyed daughter Lauretta, and soon he’s plunged into a world of dark secrets that make this book compelling reading.

Willard isn’t the perfect hero either; he makes mistakes, bad mistakes, which put both his mission and life on the line more than once. It’s also good to see that the usual hero meets girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after doesn’t turn out that way which adds to the elements of surprise and twists and turns of the story.

Interesting to see that the author includes quite a lot of wildlife in his descriptive paragraphs, such as moths and bats, something that many authors seem to overlook.

Another great read from an author that is fast becoming one of my favourites from the Black Horse stable.



I've not read this guy but I'm ordering this from Amazon.

Chap O'Keefe said...

From the review, this one sounds like it was well researched, but in 2005, Mike Linaker drew my attention to an article in Writers' Forum magazine by this author. Bannerman reckoned the beginner should do research last and it should be pasted in from Google,increasing the finished book's length by about 10 per cent.

I wasn't the only writer astonished by the advice. If Bannerman does use the method himself, it doesn't show!

It might produce acceptable results for minor items, like detail of a firearm. But most importantly, I still believe the "big picture" research affecting whether a story is feasible -- are the dates right, what was geographically and historically possible -- has to be done at the outset.

It was also Bannerman who said a BHW central character must always be male and chapters must be of similar lengths. Now these are definitely "rules" that can be broken. Keep on showing 'em, Misfit Lil!

Steve M said...

Interesting comments there Keith, and I find it hard to believe anyone can write and do the research after.

If you click on the Label for Mark Bannerman you'll find another book I've reviewed; Benders Boot. I can't believe he wrote this before doing research as how would he have known how the killings were carried out? How many the family numbered? Ete etc.

I know you've written that he said the beginner - and he wasn't when he wrote Benders Boot - but I'd have thought you could have to end up re-writing half the book to fit whatever your research turns up. Seems to me the obvious way would be to do your research first.

Ray said...

I like Mark Bannerman's books - I've not got any but borrowed a few from the library.
Research is essential - and there are those who do include flora and fauna but only to enhance the scenery. It gives me, as a reader, a sense of place.
If I wrote a book set in 1876 and my character handed over a wanted man to Wild Bill Hickock in Abilene - I guess there would be a lot of people on my neck about that.
Well, that's my two pence.

mark bannerman said...

I am the author Mark Bannerman and am glad my Westerns have been enjoyed. I am however annoyed that comments have been attributed to me that I have never made. I would not dream of leaving my research until the end of my books. I research before and as I write my novels. Nor have I said that BHW central characters must always be male. I had a heroine in RENEGADE ROSE. I shall be obliged if readers will ignore the comments made by Chap O'Keefe.