A Novel of John Wesley Hardinby James Carlos Blake
“A genuine tour de force . . . an ingenious reconstruction of the life and times of the West’s most feared gunman, John Wesley Hardin.” —Rocky Mountain News
A novel of uncompromising depth and power from western master James Carlos Blake, called “one of the greatest chroniclers of the mythical American outlaw life” by Entertainment Weekly, The Pistoleer narrates the life of John Wesley Hardin, exposing the many different sides of a man who became a legend.
For his forty-two years on this earth, Hardin’s name was synonymous with outlaw. A killer at fifteen, in the next few years he became skilled enough with his pistols to back down Wild Bill Hickok in the street. By the time the law caught up with Hardin when he was twenty-five, he had killed as many as forty men and been shot so many times that, it was said, he carried a pound of lead in his flesh. In jail he became a scholar, studying law books until he won himself freedom, and afterward he tried to lead an upright life. It was not to be. By the time he was killed in 1895, Hardin was an anachronism—the last true gunfighter of the Old West. With each chapter told from a different character’s perspective, The Pistoleer is a reading experience not to be missed.
“An astonishing series of vignettes, each revealing a period of Hardin’s life, each rendered honestly and in a unique, evocative voice . . . Blake’s mastery of historical detail, vernacular, and idiom makes for an entertaining chronology . . . it’s also a fascinating and accurate revelation of the time, place, and people who settled a frontier.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Blake writes with a fearless precision and a ruthless sensibility, his prose is spare and tough, and his descriptions detailed and cinematic.” —Publishers Weekly