From the Author
Since a kid Ive always loved western films and when I was introduced to the glory of Shakespeare at school I became fascinated with the way the Bards plots were adapted to the western format. Delmer Davess Jubal with Glenn Ford is a rather obvious Othello, even down to the handkerchief acting as the trigger for suspicion and jealousy. Far more subtle is William Wellmans Yellow Sky (Gregory Peck) which is a fascinating reworking of The Tempest with a beauty of its own. There are several others but best of all is Anthony Manns The Man from Laramie, solidly based on King Lear with Lear becoming a megalomaniac ranch-owner and James Stewart in the Gloucester role. Interestingly, just about the most horrific scene on the stage is the putting out of Gloucesters eyes and in the film this becomes the deliberate putting of a bullet through Stewarts gun-hand, which even today must be one of the most gruesome scenes in the history of the cinema.
So, when I had become an established writer, my thoughts turned to having a go at pillaging Old Bill for myself. I chose a play and, in between working on other projects, selected key scenes and rewrote them. Initially it was just as an exercise, without any immediate intention of getting published.
Years on, following an illness which had made writing difficult, I was clearing out my files and came across the forgotten notes. Having something that was already half-written meant I didnt have to start from scratch. (With regard to the prospect of starting a new book, my illness had put me on a par with an inexperienced climber looking up at Everest from base camp.) So I tweaked here and there, wrote linking passages, finding that the thing began to take on a life of its own, growing organically as a novel does and distancing itself somewhat from the original. And the result was Crowfeeders.
So there it is a Shakespearian play in the guise of an "aw-shucks" shoot-em-up western. Given its long gestation and the arduous task of bringing it to completion, I must admit to being a little proud of it.
And, as to which of the Bards plays served as the inspiration, I leave it to the astute reader to figure out!