Berkley, July 2006
A wandering, brawling womaniser, Joe Moss is so tough that the mere sight of him can turn other men pale. It’s 1858, and Joe’s leading a wagon train of emigrants heading west to seek their California dream. But to get there, these green folks will experience hardships that resemble scenes from hell.
The hardest blow of all comes when Joe fall deeply in love with a pretty girl making the journey – and her ornery father breaks up their romance. Years later, Joe learns that his girl was pregnant before they reached California. Now Moss is determined to find her and his child – even if he has to spill a river of blood to do it…
Man of Honor is the first in a series of that name (there are four books to date) and this was written by Frank Roderus, as was the third book in the series. The other two are by Gary McCarthy – which explains where the pseudonym comes from.
Much of this book takes place in the past and tells the story of Joe Moss guiding a wagon train and reveals how he came to meet – and fall in love with – Fiona. There is also plenty of danger for Moss to face, not least Fiona’s father; a drunk who does his best to keep Moss and Fiona apart.
Frank Roderus describes this growing love perfectly and will have the reader hoping that Moss and Fiona find happiness together. But this is not to be and Roderus’ words will have you sharing the anguish of Moss as he is forced to leave the wagon train, leaving Fiona behind too.
The book rapidly covers a number of years as Moss attempts to forget about Fiona only to hear that she was pregnant. Moss then does his best to find Fiona and their child so he can do the right thing by them – hence the Man of Honor title.
But this book is not only a love story; it has plenty of the expected action from a fast moving western. There’s fistfights, gunplay, and Indian raids amoung the many exciting incidents that pepper the story.
And is Moss the perfect western hero? Not really, he’s a rough, tough westerner who enjoys collecting the scalps of his victims, but he is a fascinating character, one you hope will finally get the girl. Does he? You’ll have to read the book to find out.