A Western Novel

      “An epic novel of adventure and family life that will keep you turning pages. It covers not only a wide range of the country but a span of time as well. The story starts in Georgia before the Civil War and ends in New Mexico some years later. The author has obviously researched the history of those years and presents us with an authentic interpretation. In the book we meet and get to know slaves, slave-owners and free men and discover their hopes, fears and aspirations. Of particular interest to readers in this area are the chapters dealing with the ordeals and hardships of frontier life as families moved westward. This is a saga of four generations, their struggles, intricate relationships and eventual happiness.”
      --Marcia Muth, “Book Chat,” Enchantment
            “This is an epic about the winning of the West. We follow the members and affiliates of the Bolt family from their Georgia farm to a horse ranch at the foot of the Sangre de Cristos. There is also a sizable chunk of the Civil War thrown in. Patriarch John Bolt fights for the Union at Glorieta Pass, while back in Georgia his son Wes, who hates slavery, has to fight for the Confederacy. After the war he limps back to the family farm to find that Sherman’s march to the sea has left the place in ruins. There’s nothing to do but pack up his family and follow the old man.
            “The title has a double meaning. On one hand, it refers to the long haul to New Mexico, with each river crossing from the Sabine to the Pecos being carefully described, but it also refers to that wide river that all of us must cross someday. The ranch above Las Vegas, New Mexico gradually turns into a sort of earthly paradise where the family is reunited to live in harmony and plenty.
            “The Bolts are almost tediously handsome and stalwart but the supporting characters, freed from the onus of heroism, are an interesting and likable bunch. There is no middle ground. The good are good and the bad are bad to the bone and very easy to spot: ‘He grinned evilly at her, causing a trickle of snuff juice to trace that which was already dried in the creases at the corners of his mouth.’ It is entertaining.”
      --Andy Jackson, Albuquerque Journal
            “This reviewer reads and reviews mostly books on history, so this fictional work is an unusual experience. It must be said that this is an historical novel, and the history is quite accurate, indicating considerable research by the author. The story begins in Savannah, Georgia, in 1835 and ends in New Mexico about 1870. It covers almost too much history in too much detail, as it covers the Mexican War, the Civil War, and various skirmishes in between.
            “Basically, the book describes the lives and vicissitudes of 12-year-old John Bolt, of questionable parentage, raised by a blacksmith, his marriage to a Cherokee Indian girl, and their progeny. The whole tribe, including non-slave blacks, ends up ranching near Santa Fe. The central character, and his Indian wife, Clemmy, experience about every kind of adventure possible. Clemmy is almost but not quite raped several times and John is shot, speared, and beaten up before the happy ending in New Mexico. The author is fascinated with dialect and the reader tires of black, Georgia Cracker, Indian, and Mexican English. The reader soon comes to anticipate coming happenings since the historical events are obvious. Oh, yes! The title comes from the repetition of ‘crossing a wide river’ for the death of a character.”
      --W.H. Van Duzer, P.M., Denver Westerner’s ROUNDUP