Henry McGladdery Forty, United States Army . . . ending his days after twenty years’ service in a shabby frontier fort on the edge of the south-western desert, tempted to quick promotion by a colonel’s daughter with better looks than morals; tempted to civilian freedom by a wild mustanger’s daughter . . .
Then his thoughts were disturbed by the thunder of the unshod hoofs of Apache ponies, their riders yelling in fury at the soldiers and civilians who barred their way to the riches of the country. Forty knew there was only one way to fight an Apache – fight him alone. So fight him he did . . .
If you like westerns filled with gunfights then this is the book for you. In fact, the final third of the story is pretty much one long, frantic chase and gun battle between the Apaches and Forty’s small band of men who are determined to bring an end to Correoso’s raids. A lot of the fights involve horses, as the Apaches attempt to steal fresh mounts and Forty tries to stop them.
Although long-time readers of westerns won’t find anything new in this book, Matt Chisholm always keeps the story interesting and gripping and immediately has you wondering what’s going on as his tale begins in the midst of a dangerous situation. His heroic figures will have you urging them on as they battle superior odds. Chisholm’s taut plotting is often laced with mild humour and you can never be sure of just who will be alive by the end.
Matt Chisholm is the most well-known pseudonym used by Peter Watts and he’s always been one of my favourite British western authors, and even though this book isn’t one of this best as it was a little predictable, it was still very entertaining and left me eager to read more of his work.