Friday, 4 September 2009

Wilderness #61

as by David Thompson

Leisure, September 2009

Raised amid the rough terrain of the Rocky Mountains, Evelyn King always relished adventure. And a buffalo hunt sounded like a wonderful way to get it. Even better – she wouldn’t be under the watchful eye of her parents since she was going with their neighbors, a small band of Nansusequa Indians. But the members of their party aren’t the only predators on the plains. A gang of scalp hunters is heading to New Mexico Territory, collecting as many trophies as they can along the way. And Evelyn and her friends are a perfect target….

Books 58 and 59 followed Nate King as he helped some runaway slaves, book 60 explained what Zach King was doing at that time, so it only seems correct that David Thompson (David Robbins) now tells of Evelyn King’s battle for survival and her growing affections for Dega, during that same time period.

In fact the deepening affections that both Evelyn and Dega are feeling for each other form one of the main story threads throughout this book. As young love blossoms David Robbins spins a heart-warming tale of two young people experiencing feelings they’ve never known before, emotions they are unsure of how to act upon. This leads to some wonderful dialogue as they grow ever closer, at times adding moments of humour as Dega struggles to speak, and understand, the English language. But it also seems that not everyone they hold dear is keen on how this relationship is developing, making the reader wonder what is in store for this engaging couple.

But this would not be a Wilderness book without the constant threat of death from both nature and man. The scalp hunters of the title make for a formidable enemy for Evelyn and her Nansusequa companions. These hunters are brutal men who will stop at nothing to get what they want: their leader, Venom, having a particularly vile perversion that follows the scalping of his victims. This band of killers has its own problems too, in the form of leadership challenges: something that will play a savage part in the outcome of this novel.

As expected from David Robbins the book is a fast flowing read, full of cliff-hanger situations that ensure you keep reading. The balance between the violence and the tenderness of growing love is superbly done. And the inclusion of a wagon-train that perhaps seems inconsequential at the time turns out to have great importance to not just the end of this book but would seem to be setting up the next story, and thus, like all great serials, has this reader eager for the next book in the series.

1 comment:

Katt said...

This is a different take on what most people think of as scalp hunters. As always, David's books are never disappointing. Great review Steve. You do an excellent job of writing reviews.