Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Black Powder Justice (Wilderness #6) by David Robbins writing as David Thompson

Since the Wilderness series was released in audio form, I've been trying to catch with entries I missed, particularly the earlier ones. Read by Rusty Nelson and published by Books in Motion, these books are truly fine Westerns well-read by a professional. The most recent one I heard is Black Powder Justice, the sixth book, originally published in the early 1990s.

Nate King is hunting buffalo for himself and his five-months-pregnant Shoshone wife, Winona, when it begins to snow. In the mountains of 1835, this is not a small matter. Getting a large chunk of meat for now, he heads home. But the blood draws a pack of wolves, who work steadily to attack Nate and wear him down in their typical style. Eventually he fall prey to the cold and loss of blood.

In the midst of his recovery, Nate and Winona venture outdoors to investigate a noise and return to a home invader -- a human one. Before long, the Kings are prisoners in their own home, and soon Nate is knocked out.  When he wakes up, he finds everyone else -- and all the food -- is gone.

Uses his copious survival skills, his respect for others, and the fame gained by killing a grizzly bear using only a knife to not only retrieve his wife, but also gain the respect of a Ute brave while forcefully borrowing his horse.

David Robbins wrote the Wilderness series under the pseudonym David Thompson until recently.  As of series entry #67 (The Gift), he has begun using his own name.  Under either name, the author is a natural storyteller with a true gift for authentic characterization -- he shows us in Black Powder Justice that even a stoic Indian woman can get insecure when her husband calls another woman's name in his sleep -- and for lengthy descriptive passage that don't feel like filler.

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