Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sons of Texas – Tom Early (Elmer Kelton)

Elmer Kelton has long been a shining light in the realm of Western genre writing. It is no mystery that Berkley contacted him and contracted him to pen a series of books dedicated to the developmental days of Texas. The result – the Sons of Texas series. Booklist touted the writing as a “series that brings to mind L'Amour's multi-generational Sackett Family saga”, this first novel in the series is one that will get you hooked.

I picked up a copy to combat homesickness the first time I moved away from my beloved Texas on a permanent basis. It was this book that actually started me down the slippery slope of reading Westerns. I’ve not regretted a moment of it. In 2005, Forge decided to re-release the novels in hardcover and attributing them to Kelton instead of his pseudonym. I'm still debating on adding the new hardcover editions bearing Kelton's real name.

Begin on the journey following the Lewis family. Mordecai and his son break ground in the vast countryside of Texas. Join them as they travel back east only to be forced by a bloody feud to return to the new land that promises dreams. The land that was “there for the taking” turns out to require more blood and fighting. Stephen Austin finds that the Lewis men are up to the challenge and discovers that they, while reluctant to follow military pathways, have a natural talent needed to defend the emerging nation.

Sons of Texas is a gripping, action-packed novel of the American west that contains the grit and gumption required by readers of Western novels. The entire series (started by Kelton using the Tom Early pseudonym) continues for six books, following the growth of the Lewis clan and the growth of the infant nation/state of Texas. The first three of the books were penned by Kelton, other writers (including historical/western novel veteran, James Reasoner) were tapped to extend and conclude the series. Fans of Texas and the Western novel will want to read all six volumes.

—Benjamin Potter, March 29, 2007

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