One Who Knows Horses
by Max Windham
AuthorHouse UK

"Their way of life would soon be over. She could not let the man leave this valley alive."

This narrative begins intimately and ultimately expands to feel as big as the Rocky Mountains where the story takes place. The year is 1830, and the tale encompasses some forty years in the life of a man who leaves Mississippi and heads west. His personal story is a microcosm of America’s westward expansion writ large. It is truly a chronicle of how the west was won—or lost, depending on your point of view.

Zack is a young man with a prized possession: a stallion named Ollie. On his way to the mountains, he falls in with a bad crowd and realizes if he’s to keep his life and his horse, he must get away from his companions. In doing so he is wounded. Found by Native Americans, he is brought to their village where his hunting skills enable him to provide sustenance for himself and members of the tribe. When he leaves, he is followed by three sisters who ultimately become his wives, his workmates, and his protectors. Over the years they experience good fortune, hardship, danger, death, and more. They and their progeny carve an oasis out of the wilderness—a refuge supported by horses, cattle, and gold—all of which attract trouble that endangers the family’s singular claim to their paradise.

The author’s simple, straightforward prose, skillful plotting, and insightful characterizations make reading his tale a pleasure. Windham is an engaging storyteller and a disciplined writer. However, near the end, a multiplicity of events threatens to overload his almost perfectly paced saga of high adventure and heartfelt emotion. While the ending may seem a bit abrupt, it does give the promise of more story to come. Let’s hope so.

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