Today we have an excerpt form Robert Olmstead‘s Far Bright Star. This novel, which came out last year and is new in paperback, has gleaned some high praise and won the Western Writers of America Spur Award.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune called it “A masterpiece.” The Cleveland Plain Dealer called it “Gleaming, spellbinding fiction . . . Terrifying and abruptly beautiful.” Personally, I’ll hang with any author who uses a Shakespeare quote as the epigraph to a Western.
The plot: The year is 1916. The enemy, Pancho Villa, is elusive. The terrain is unforgiving. Through the mountains and across the long dry stretches of Mexico, Napoleon Childs, an aging cavalryman, leads an expedition of inexperienced horse soldiers on seemingly fruitless searches. Though he is seasoned at such missions, things go terribly wrong, and his patrol is suddenly at the mercy of an enemy intent on their destruction. After witnessing the demise of his troops, Napoleon is left by his captors to die in the desert. Through him, we enter the conflicted mind of a warrior as he tries to survive against all odds, as he seeks to make sense of a lifetime of senseless wars and to reckon with the reasons a man would choose a life on the battlefield.