Friday, 19 December 2008
FRIDAY'S FORGOTTEN BOOKS - DAWN OF FURY
THE DAWN OF FURY
BY RALPH COMPTON
SIGNET Originally published 1995
Nathan Stone returns to his home after the Civil War only to find the place ransacked and his entire family killed. Only the one time negro slave Malachi remains and he tells Nathan of the men who rode in and killed his father and raped his mother and sister.
This sets Nathan off on a vengeance trail.
This book is a lot larger than the standard western novel, clocking in at almost five hundred pages and, as expected, there are a lot of sub plots running alongside the main thread in order to paint the action and adventure across such a large canvas. Nathan Stone meets up with many real life historical figures in his journey to become the West's ultimate gunfighter and although these sections are nothing to do with the main plot and would work as self contained short stories, they do serve to develop the character of Nathan Stone into the West's most deadly gunfighter.
The plot is very event driven and often seems like a series of climaxes, one after the other, but stacked skilfully. I remained glued to each and every page and enjoyed the story as Nathan came across Jessie James, Judge Bean and John Wesley Hardin.
"Nathan Stone had no illusions about what lay ahead.One who gained a reputation with a fast gun had only one means of escape, and that's when he faced a man with a faster gun. To finish what destiny had started. Nathan rode on towards the killing season."
The book does everything a western should - thrills, laughs, horror, romance are all ingredients used in the mix. There are points where it seems that too much is happening and the story could have been tighter if a few thousand words had been edited out but the story holds together well and shows why the Ralph Compton name is so well respected in the western genre. Since the author's death in 1998 the author's legacy has been continued by other writers.
Posted by Gary Dobbs/Jack Martin at 00:21