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A Historical Western about a young mountain man's need for revenge against the Apaches that murdered his fiance'
Brodie Jones had been on his own since he was fifteen years old. He had headed west as a hunter, lived several years as a mountain man and scouted for the Fremont expeditions. At the outbreak of the Mexican War, he was scouting for the US Army.
Through his friend Kit Carson, he had met and fallen in love with Maria Santiago, the daughter of a wealthy land grant holder in New Mexico. While scouting for a patrol in the mountains near Taos, the Santiago hacienda was attacked by an Apache war party. When Brodie reached the hacienda, he found the entire family had been massacred.
The mountain man spent the better part of the next year tracking the warrior band all over the southwest territory from Taos down into Mexico and back multiple times, all the while extracting his revenge. He had killed twenty-three of the warriors from the war party, the remaining eight were ambushed and killed by scalp-hunters. During the period he was tracking down the Apaches, he had several encounters with a group of scalp-hunters that were also hunting Apaches. At that time the Mexican Governor was paying a bounty for Apache scalps and a band of renegades were roaming the territory killing anyone with long black hair and taking their hair.
With all of the war party dead, Brodie had been left feeling empty and alone. His quest for revenge had driven him and been his only reason for living to that point. Then a strange event briefly allied him with the Apaches, the outcome of which gave new meaning to his life and a reason to go on.
Death Rider is a historical western. Many of the names, places and events are factual; the character of Brodie Jones is purely fictional.
Shielding his eyes against the intense midday desert sun, Brodie chanced a quick glance out from behind the rocks where he was hiding. Mesquite, cacti, sand and rocks were all he was able to make out. There were no signs of his attackers, but he knew that didn’t mean they weren’t out there somewhere. If he had learned nothing else over the past several years on the frontier, he had learned the Apaches didn’t let their presence be known until they wanted, then more often than not, when they did, it was much too late.
Slowly Brodie turned and slid back down to sit on the ground behind the boulders. The pain in his side had become excruciating. If he was going to have any hope of surviving, he knew the arrow had to come out and the bleeding would have to be gotten under control and both of those things would have to be done soon.
The shaft of an Apache arrow protruded from his right side, just below his ribs. Even though the tip was buried several inches deep, the shaft had not passed all the way through his body. The barbs of the arrowhead negated any thought of pulling it back out the same way it had entered; Brodie knew it would compound the severity of the wound by tearing up his insides if he tried to pull it out the same direction it had entered.
“Well Hoss, looks like you’ve really stepped in it this time,” he spoke through clenched teeth, trying to fight against the pain. “After all these months, you’ve chased the bastards till they finally caught you.”
A Sure Winner
Action-packed and filled with suspense, Death Rider by D.J. Stephens is a sure winner for historical western fans.
Brodie Jones sees his future and all his dreams dashed when an Apache war party descimates the Santiago hacienda and massacres the entire family, including Brodie's wife to be, Maria. With nothing left to live for and hell bent on revenge, the mountain man tracks the Apache warriors from Taos to Mexico and back again. After killing most of the war party, Brodie continues to track the remaining eight Apache warriors, only to find them ambushed and killed by scalp hunters. Now adrift and without a mission, Brodie wonders what he should do next. When a strange event finds him in the position of protecting the Apaches, Brodie's life is changed forever.
This is the first historical western I had read in a long time and the first novel by D.J. Stephens I had picked up. For all his toughness, Brodie is a sympathetic character whose entire life is turned upside down by the brutal murder of the Santiago family. Stephens explores through recurrent nightmares and dreams the depth of Brodie's pain and suffering. But Brodie isn't a man to be messed with. He savagely murders those responsible for the deaths of the Santiago family. Stephens' attention to detail brings this story to life and reminds the reader of the dangerous times in which Brodie lived.
The cover art is beautifully done. The rider on his horse looking out over the terrain as the storm clouds roll in is both striking and symbolic.
I eagerly look forward to reading more from D.J. Stephens.
Cheryl - The Book Connection
D. J. Stephens has done it again
He does it again.
Another wonderful novel by D.J. Stephens. As usual a story line full of action and suspense that grabs your attention and holds you captive.
His character Brodie Jones has had his hopes and dreams taken away from him. The Apaches took away the love of his life and as well as her family. To Brodie, there is no reason to live other than to seek revenge on those that took his Maria. His days and night are filled with nothing but thoughts of his Maria and the life they had planned together.
Brodie is a no holds barred man that believes in standing up for himself. His anger and rage drives him, and he won't let anyone or anything stop him from getting his revenge.
Go with him on his journey as he makes things right and to make them suffer the consequences of taking those dreams away.
D. J. Stephens has an extraordinary story-teller capability. I love the strenght of his characters, and the way you become one with them as he brings them to life in everyone of his novels.
Death Rider is a great addition to any western library.
As with all D.J. Stephens novels, once you pick it up, you can't put it down.
Jorja Ziller ( Store Owner )
I enjoyed this book
Death Rider, by D. J. Stephens
A rather short book, but a captivating story from the very first page. In a wild-west setting, the character Brodie Jones, sets out on a quest of revenge for the mutilation deaths of his beloved bride-to-be and her family at the hands of Apache Indians. Suspense, from chapter-to-chapter, keeps the reader wanting to know more. The author paints a vivid picture of pursuit and the stealth utilized in finding and executing the savages. When the job is finished, the character feels an emptiness that is filled in an unlikely turn of events with the saving of a young Indian girl’s life.
To say that it is fast moving, power-packed and a page-turner would be too trite. If you like western novels, you’ll enjoy this book.
Author - Reviewer - Abe March
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