Sunday 19 April 2015

Lords of an Empty Land

By Randy Denmon
Pinnacle, April 2015

Red River Valley, 1869. Hundreds of ex-Confederate soldiers have emerged from the piney hills and mosquito infested swamps of Lousiana backcountry in a final bloody show of defiance. After a series of violent raids on carpetbaggers, freed slaves, and northern cargo ships,
Captain Douglas Owens of the 4th Calvary is given orders to reclaim this Godforsaken land from its murderous outlaw gangs. By Owens’ side is Huff, a former slave, and Basil Dubose, an ex-Rebel gunslinger for hire who answers to no man but his paymaster. With each deadly encounter, it becomes clear to Owens that neither the Army nor the public is willing to spill blood for the sake of freed slaves. With his options dwindling, the Captain takes a squad of soldiers under his command – in a last desperate bid for freedom and justice that would change the course of history…

This is a fictional story based around a few historical events and author Randy Denmon does well in creating a believable atmosphere for those times. He does especially well with the feeling of hopelessness Captain Owens experiences as each of his missions ends in failure due to the strong political movements he is up against.

Politics plays a strong part in this tale and this adds some fascinating facts to the story and becomes the seemingly unbeatable force that Owens is up against, not only from those who oppose the Northern rule but also from his own army and their reluctance to provide him with sufficient troops to stand a chance of bringing law and order to the area.

Denmon mainly tells the story from Owens point of view, everyone else being pretty much  secondary characters, even Huff and Basil Dubose. We do find out a little about Dubose though, and his belief in just killing the enemy, rather than bringing them in for a trial that will end with the prisoners being freed, causes a few more problems for Owens.

There’s plenty of action, and some fairly gruesome descriptions such as when Owen’s visits a dentist for an extraction. There’s also some love interest for Owen’s and you’ll soon be wondering, as does one of his soldiers, whether the girl isn’t the one feeding information to the opposition that sees them one step ahead of the Captain.

Denmon concludes his book with some author notes that explain how the true events of his story shaped America in the coming years.

Lords of an Empty Land is Randy Denmon’s third book and his fourth will be out later this year.


1 comment:

Oscar Case said...

Will read the book just for the Author's Notes to find out what he is writing about. Sounds interesting.