"Partners" by David McGowan
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Strategic Book Publishing (September 16, 2008)
The Burton Review Rating: 3.5 stars
The Blurb: "Thomas Brash is trying to escape but knows he never will. Pursuing him is the memory of the family he lost to cholera. Perhaps he believes that traveling alone in a wild, dangerous land will end all his memories; there is no doubt he wishes to be alone. Whatever his intentions the appearance of Frank Clement and the circumstances of that meeting upset those plans. Brash views Clement as an uneducated child who requires fatherly protection and guidance. Clement views Brash as a tenderfoot and can not understand how anyone who knows so little could live so long. These two loners are joined by others and they all become partners. Having achieved relative sanctuary and surrounded by civilization their wilderness past comes back to haunt them."
This book is reminiscent of the old-style westerns my mama used to read. It is set in Canada where, as an American, I really had no concept of their history and the frontier as we call it, so this was an intriguing setting. This is a story that flows easily between the concept of camaraderie and the intense events that the partners endure together; and the relationship that develops between two men who are very different. Surprising to both of the man they become partners as a consequence of a murderous event that brings them together as they then explore the Canadian West in 1866.
Frank is the young man looking for a sense of peace in his life after his parents die and coincidentally he meets Tom who is also moving on in life as he gets over the loss of his entire young family. We learn some of the history of the land that they travel, as they meet Blackfoot/feet Indians and fall in step with them and their customs. They fall in step with the indians and learn how to hunt buffalo and enjoy themselves as they try to figure out a way to get out of their camp without disrespecting them. They have several disputes with others which are well played out, and they even move on to pan for gold for awhile until they make enough money to create a homestead on. These two characters are likable for their distinguishing qualities; Frank is a young man who is very learned in the ability to survive the wilderness yet he is still a bit green in dealing amiably with others, while Tom exhibits his knowledge through words and has the important ability to circumvent disaster when facing difficult situations such as clashing cultures with the Blackfoot Indians.
The writing was straight forward and there really were not any slow points within the book. The author was quite knowledgeable regarding the customs of the Indians and I enjoyed learning some of them along the way as Tom taught Frank how to conduct himself with his new camp of Indians. Frank's speech though was a bit to get used to as his words were spelled out phonetically to show his western drawl style of speech. It certainly added to the authenticity of the character of Frank, and the dialogue helped distinguish between the other characters in the book that we were introduced to periodically. There are distinct stages in the book as the travelers moved along which were all interesting to read about, along with the new characters we meet along the way. At one point, Frank and Tom becomes part of a posse to catch a One Eared murderous man, and they also confront a colonel and his soldiers.
I imagine that those who grew up play-acting Cowboys and Indians in their backyards will really enjoy this story and the adventures that the partners have. I enjoyed the story and think anyone interested in a colonial era type story will enjoy this one. I am pleased to report that the author has just released "Homesteader", another Canadian western with a new set of characters.
In an effort to help a self published author out, I would like to promote readership for him by offering my read copy up to my blog readers, open to the USA.
Please comment here with your Email Address if you would like to be entered for this giveaway which ends on July 18th.