Cry of the Hawk: The Plainsmen

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Cry of the Hawk: The Plainsmen

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Set primarily on the high plains during the 1860s, this novel has the epic sweep of the frontier built into it. Unfortunately, Johnston (the Sons of the Plains trilogy) relies too much on a facile and overfamiliar style. Add to this the overly graphic descriptions of violence, and readers will recognize a genre that seems especially popular these days: the sensational western. The novel opens in the year 1908, with a newspaper reporter Nate Deidecker seeking out Jonah Hook, an aged scout, Indian fighter and buffalo hunter. Deidecker has been writing up firsthand accounts of the Old West and intends to add Hook's to his series. Hook readily agrees, and the narrative moves from its frame to its main canvas. Alas, Hook's story is also conveyed in the third person, thus depriving the reader of the storytelling aspect which, supposedly, Deidecker is privileged to hear. The plot concerns Hook's search for his family--abducted by a marauding band of Mormons--after he serves a tour of duty as a ``galvanized'' Union soldier (a captured Confederate who joined the Union Army to serve on the frontier). As we follow Hook's bloody adventures, however, the kidnapping becomes almost submerged and is only partially, and all too quickly, resolved in the end. Perhaps Johnston is planning a sequel; certainly the unsatisfying conclusion seems to point in that direction. (Aug.)
Library Journal
To get out of the Union prison at Rock Island, Illinois, Confederate Jonah Hook volunteers to go West and fight Indians as a ``galvanized Yankee.'' When the Civil War and his service for the hated North end, he returns home to find that his family has been abducted by a roaming band of Mormon Danites. Jonah's turbulent search for them over the Western plains develops into a stunning narrative of violent life on the frontier. Veteran wilderness novelist Johnston ( Borderlords , Bantam, 1986) has struck a rare balance, portraying historical facts with a writer's imagination so that well-known events and historical figures seem real. Reminiscent of Alan Le May's The Searchers (1954), on which John Ford's movie is based, this open-ended book hints at subsequent volumes. This is highly recommended for most fiction collections.-- Robert Jordan, Univ. of Iowa, Iowa City
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553562408
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 8/28/1993
  • Series: Jonas Hook Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 692,754
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Table of Contents

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