Top positive review
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Very good prequel to Lonesome Dove
on 3 December 2016
This is, chronologically, the second in the Lonesome Dove series. Call and McRae are now experienced rangers, spending their time defending settlers, fighting native Americans, and carrying out any other tasks found for them. Like Dead Man's Walk - the first in the series - this book is episodic in form; there are three sections, each separated by a few years. In the first, they have a charismatic leader, Inish Scull, around whom, myths grow. When his famous horse is stolen, he sets off on foot to recover it. In later sections, the rangers continue their work whilst the Civil War rages to the north.
Throughout the book, the central characters' stories are interwoven with various tales, some short, some more complex. We follow the development of Call and McRae, and come to understand their motivations, strengths and flaws. For those readers, like me, who read Lonesome Dove before the prequels, the author has done an extraordinary job in filling in their back stories to produce the men we meet in that novel. There is also, over the two prequels, a sympathetic portrayal of the native Americans realisation that their way of life cannot survive.
In general, the book has all the strengths of Lonesome Dove and Dead Man's Walk; a light touch, sparse dialogue, a real feel for the time and place, and believable characters. There is, I think, more cruelty in this book than the others, but the world in which it is set was a cruel, brutish one, and it does contribute to the development of the main characters' weariness. It leads beautifully into the next book.