One of my favorite authors, and a friend I’m pleased to say, is Peter Grant. Peter’s work is usually space opera, and darn good ones at that. But today is the launch date for his newest book, and it’s something completely different.
If you’re thinking that looks like a Louis L’Amour cover, you’re spot on. This story is a classic Western novel. Brings the Lightning is Peter’s attempt at reviving the genre that so many of us miss, the last great author having passed beyond the vale of the living. As the cover indicates, what lies inside the story is a very good echo of past glories.
Walt Ames, as the story opens, is miserable and bereft, having been on the losing side in the Civil War. He’s slowly headed for home through a countryside more lawless than most Western novels dwell on, and he’s forced into terrible situations as he struggles for peace. Even home, when he finally reaches it, is a hollow refuge and he realizes that only the distance and anonymity of the Western Frontier will give him a chance to start fresh.
The story is superbly written, as Peter’s books always are. I noted with amusement that the gun nuts among his fans will be delighted at the myriad details about firearms he includes, deftly weaving them into the tale as his main character comes to depend on them for his livelihood and defense on the dangerous trip West. It was fascinating to read the details he includes, and I know from talking to him and listening to his accounts that he spent a lot of time and effort on research for this book.
There is also a romance. It’s not as melodramatic as the Zane Grey’s I grew up reading, it’s more sweet and understated and fits into the story nicely. I enjoyed the character and the growth of the romance was heavily foreshadowed so it wasn’t a surprise when it bore fruit. Equally important to the story are several friendships that develop, and I’ll reveal that a character’s death made me choke up, because, well, he felt real to me.
This is a short novel, as it should be, like the L’Amour’s we know and love. I’ve been very happy reading it, and I’m looking forward to more from him. Peter may not be able to revive an entire genre single-handedly, but he’s made a good start to it.