Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Fort Revenge

By Ralph Hayes
Hale, October 2011

When buffalo hunter O’Brien is wrongly accused of rustling by ranch hands and has to kill the rancher’s son to defend himself from hanging, he thought his life had already taken a bad turn. However, within a days ride from that violent scene, he happens upon Sarah Carter.

Together they follow the dangerous road to Fort Revenge, where Sarah is due to wed Jake Latimer. It becomes clear that Latimer is not the man for Sarah, but can O’Brien save Sarah as well as dealing with his own troubles from the past….

Back in the early 1970s Ralph Hayes wrote a short series of books featuring O’Brien, later in 1992 O’Brien made a comeback and here is his next appearance, nearly twenty years later.

Ralph Hayes does make a couple of references to those early adventures, but if you haven’t read, or are even aware of those first books, these references will pass you by, and definitely will not spoil your enjoyment of this book.

Fort Revenge has more words per page than many Black Horse Westerns, therefore offers a longer read for your money. The story is very fast moving and has revenge, stagecoach robbery, and mail-order brides as its main themes. O’Brien will also have to deal with emotions he’s inexperienced with too, that of falling in love. Each thread of the story is well thought out and all are resolved in exciting and fitting ways.

I’ve not actually read any of the other O’Brien books, even though I have some of them in my collection, but have read other westerns by Ralph Hayes which I enjoyed, so it came as no surprise to me that I found this to be a very entertaining read that left me hoping it won’t be another twenty years before O’Brien rides again.


Anonymous said...

Ralph Hayes wrote quite a few western and action/adventure series in the 70s & 80s and I still have a few on the TBR shelf. We even shared a brief correspondence. I'm glad to hear he's back in print but can't help wondering if this is a case of his estate placing an unsold book or if Ralph is still with us and reviving his career...I hope it's the latter!

--Stephen Mertz

Steve M said...

Stephen, this is his second Black Horse Western, the first came out in February 2010 called The Tombstone Vendetta (you can find a review of it here too), so it could well be new work.