awesome list of stirring Westerns novels, F. M. Parker has won acclaim as a master story teller. In The Shadow Man, he has achieved a new high of bringing alive the high drama and true-grit realities of the Western past.
The time is 1846 with the United States and Mexico poised for war over the American Southwest. The place is New Mexico, where Jacob Tamarron has come after years as a legendary mountain man. Jacob is weary of mountain loneliness and brutal struggle for survival against Indians and fur thieves and comes to Santa Fe and hoping to find a woman and have a family. He finds the new life he is looking for in Petra, the proud and fiery Mexican woman. He woes and marries her. Then with savage suddenness, his new life is ripped apart by two of the most vicious men ever to ravage the West. James Kirker, a professional Indian killer out to make a fortune in blood money, and Simon Caverhill, a Texas senator, who with a handpicked killing crew and a master forger, is carving out an empire from the land of butchered New Mexico ranchers.
Thus begins a searing saga of search and vengeance as Jacob turns hunter again, this time hunting the men who destroyed all that he had created. With High Walking, a Comanche warrior whose woman and his children have been slaughtered, he uncovers a trail of murder and terror that leads him to his enemies’ stronghold. With cold savage fury that matches the power and cunning of their enemies, these two unlikely comrades fight to the death to take their revenge against the great odds against him.
With extraordinary heroes, and with a cast of characters that encompasses the rich mix of men and women - black and white, Indian, Mexican, and American, law-abiding and lawless – who peopled the frontier, The Shadow Man offers a harsh yet heart-stirring vision of the American past. It combines authenticity with non-stop action and suspense into a thrilling reading experience.
In astonishment, Jacob watched the trapper block the Mexican woman’s course along the public street. He listened to the argument for a moment, not believing what he was witnessing.
“What in the hell is wrong with that fellow?” Jacob asked Tim.
“This is Unger’s first winter in the mountains. He and his partner were hit by Cheyenne. His partner stopped some arrows. But Unger killed two braves with his knife, and now he thinks he’s a real bear of a man.”
“Why hasn’t somebody taught him some manners?”
“‘Cause he’s strong as an ox and not smart enough to be afraid of anything.”
Jacob heard the man’s insulting words—”You ugly bitch”—and saw the woman’s eyes flare black flame. Her hand jumped to her knife. God! Jacob liked her bravery. A sudden thrill ran through him at just watching her. He shoved aside two trappers and strode forward past Unger.
The woman hastily backed up a step at Jacob’s swift advance. She half drew her stiletto.
Jacob stopped beside her and pivoted to face Unger.
“Let the lady pass, Unger. But first apologize to her.” Jacob’s voice was like rocks breaking.
“Apologize, hell! And to a woman so ugly, I’d have to put my hat over her face to get close enough to make love to her.” Unger threw back his head and laughed.
“Do it now, Unger, or I’ll make you one sorry bastard,” warned Jacob.
“Why, you gray-bearded old fart, I’ll cut you into ribbons.” Unger’s face lost its mirth, and his eyes flattened and glinted cruelly. He slid his knife from its sheath.
Unger heard the sharp, amazed voices of the trappers at his rear. He didn’t understand their concern. He would cut the old man just enough to show him who was cock of the walk.