Seven Ox Seven; Part One: Escondido Bound: A Story of Some Ways in the West

Overview

Seven souls risk everything to seek a home on the West Texas frontier. Will they discover a secret Eden, or have they embarked on a dangerous misadventure? Cowboys Luke Stuart and Tom Schurtz meet in the infamous Dodge City at the end of trail drives in 1877. Back in Texas, Luke and his wife, Elizabeth, divulge a plan to Tom. The Stuarts and Tom consequently partner up and venture out to establish an ideal ranch in the canyons region of the Llano Estacado, only recently (and not completely) vacated by the ...

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Seven Ox Seven; Part One: Escondido Bound: A Story of Some Ways in the West

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Overview

Seven souls risk everything to seek a home on the West Texas frontier. Will they discover a secret Eden, or have they embarked on a dangerous misadventure? Cowboys Luke Stuart and Tom Schurtz meet in the infamous Dodge City at the end of trail drives in 1877. Back in Texas, Luke and his wife, Elizabeth, divulge a plan to Tom. The Stuarts and Tom consequently partner up and venture out to establish an ideal ranch in the canyons region of the Llano Estacado, only recently (and not completely) vacated by the Comanche.They seek the mysterious Canyon Escondido, which may not exist. They have learned of it from the family lore of neighbors and the legends of their peoples, Apache and Mexican. In hope, the pioneers drive their herd across rolling plains, through notorious settlements and the wanton buffalo slaughter. Various challenges test their determination along the path they have chosen, not least so when they finally face the success or failure of their quest and what must then follow.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Move over Larry McMurtry--P. A. Ritzer establishes himself as bright new voice with this gripping epic about good and evil battling in 1870s Texas ranch country."-- BarnesandNoble.com

"An ambitious epic of the pioneer experience, framed in a turbulent period of Texas history."--

"This is excellent work on a large project. The writer's love for the written word and history of mankind is evident."- Writer's Digest

"A dramatic epic unfolds, richly flavored and brought to life with keen historical accuracy."- Midwest Book Review (Michael Dunford)

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933363011
  • Publisher: Seven Ox Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2007
  • Series: Seven Ox Seven
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 1,460,287
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Meet the Author


P. A. Ritzer spent four years traveling through Kansas, Colorado, and especially Texas, researching primary and secondary sources, and the land itself and the people who live on it, to inform his crafting of Seven Ox Seven. He brings to his story a background in history (Gonzaga University BA) and theology (Harvard University, University of Notre Dame MA).
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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 14, 2011

    Good Historical Fiction

    I was given this book as a gift by a close friend (she knows that I love westerns). I am reading the book for the second time, just to take in all of the small details I missed the first time around. The author clearly has done an awful lot of research into the period. A highly recommended read for any western fan!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2010

    Excellent Historical Fiction

    This book encompasses a wonderful combination of Western Adventure, history, humanity with it's good and bad side, and the moral dilemmas that we all face. The author mixes all of these ingredients into a fine, entertaining saga that had me spending more time into the night than I should have because I could not put it down! I was continually putting myself in the book and trying to figure out what I would do in their situations, from love interests to addressing some life threatening situations. I enjoyed it and highly recommend it to those who like a good story and want to read some history and moral perspective.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    Good Western

    I am usually not into westerns but I met the Author at a book signing and he was such a nice man that I bought the book. The book is well written and interesting. I would highly recommend it to fans of Western fiction.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    A Devoutly Christian Man in the Old West??

    I really enjoyed reading Seven Ox Seven, on several different levels. First, and most significantly for me personally, I enjoyed meeting a man (albeit a fictional man) from 130 years ago who was a true believer. I must admit, it took me a while to accept the notion, but once I did and thought about it a bit, I realized that there is absolutely no reason to be surprised by such an idea. Why shouldn't there be a man who loves his God and desires to enjoy Him and live for Him - even out in the old wild west?? It was a very refreshing idea for me. I have found that my own faith grows more when I am exposed to others who love and serve him as well - especially when those people are outside my own routine experience.

    The second perspective that I enjoyed about Seven Ox Seven is simply that it is a good story, well told, about a very likable and honorable man - Tom. I appreciate Mr. Ritzer's ability to describe details, and to create a character that in essence, became one of my heroes. I looked forward every night as I went to bed to find out how Tom and his friends were doing today as they worked hard to create a life for themselves amidst the twists and challenges of life in the wild.

    I am sure it felt like a bit of a risk for the author to write a novel about the old west with a devoutly Christian hero. But I appreciate the fact that he did. In following his own heart and devotion, Mr. Ritzer has given us a most enjoyable read, while at the same time providing encouragement to the rest of us to follow our Lord's prompting to serve Him with the talents and abilities He has given us.

    So --- how long do we have to wait to find out how Tom handles the bad guys at the ranch next door? Not long I hope!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Very Good Western

    Met this author by chance, bought the book, and really enjoyed the story,
    I must for people that enjoy westerns, very good charaters, they seem to have become my friends 1/2 through.
    Looking towards the next book, great job!!!!!
    Jeff Gagne

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2009

    "The West of the 1870s"

    A saga that provides the thrill of frontier adventure with the risk, struggle, loneliness, joy and sorrow of building a new life in a part of the the unknown West. The research is impeccable and provides insight as to what was necessary to acquire ownership. What had to be overcome. The dramatic change taking place in the 1870s. Finally, the almost unbearable weight of responsibility toward family and the partnership.
    A theme runs through the telling. "Man must live and be guided by a higher authority to build that which will last." The spiritual values of the 7OX7 party were lived out in their daily lives. However, the villian lives by a different code and threatens all they have achieved and what they stand for. Who and what will win out. We are left praying for the Stuart-Schurtz party but completely uncertain as to their future.
    Bring on Part Two!

    www.prairiepoet.org

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    seven ox seven is 1 of the best I have read! I was born and raised just north of Dodge City, Kansas!

    I thought this was a great one to read! I put it up there with anything by Kelton, McMurty, and LaMour. I was born and raised just north of Dodge City, Kansas and know the territory that the author was talking about. I would recomend this to anyone, weather you are a western fan or not. The book was historically accurate and the characters, eventhough fiction, fit right in! I can't wait for the second part to come out!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2008

    Couldn't put this down.

    This is a story of a small party of pioneers, including a young family, who set out seeking a valley (Escondido) known only as legend, to establish a ranch. This is a story of extremes, from the happiness of fulfillment from faith and hard work, to the dangers inherent in the wilderness beyond the frontier and some of the more evil men who reside there. This is a story of the kind of people who settled and built this great country of ours. If you like historical novels, you will really like this book. Some of them can be pretty hard going, but in this case I couldn¿t put the book down until I finished it¿no thinking I¿ll force myself to read to at least page fifty. The only problem is, this saga is going to continue with another book, so now I have to wait for the next book to continue the story. I have read all of James Michener¿s books, and plenty of others by the likes of Edward Rutherfurd, and we just may have another up and coming Michener here in author Peter Ritzer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 2, 2008

    Looking forward to volume two.

    It was great to read a novel that centers on characters that are normal people just trying to make their way in the world. The morality and faith shown in the characters was refreshing. The novel is a wonderful treat without relying on shoot-em-up action. The story builds to a good climax that is more internal than external, but leaves the reader anxious to read volume two. Enjoyed the religious references. There are plenty of western novels devoid of any mention of faith, yet faith was a integral part of the lives of many pioneers. I live within a few miles of the area of the fictional Escondido Canyon. Descriptions of the area, weather, and topography are right on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2008

    The telling of a tale - a rare talent today

    How wonderful it is to find that someone takes the time to tell a story. The deep and sincere emotions of the characters in this book draw the reader into the story and transport one to the gritty, daring, and beautiful days of the early American West. Get ready to dig deep, and settle in with this story, because it is not a shallow or easy read. The author challenges his reader to examine one's conscience and come away asking, 'What would I do in this situation?' In a world of fast paced electronics, and quick fixes, this is a most welcome find.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2008

    I'm ready for Part-Two

    This book makes you pause and think. Mr. Ritzer brings a spiritual element into the story that I feel adds depth and substance to the characters. Carefully weaving historical facts throughout made it all the more interesting. Looking forward to Part 2.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2008

    Nice story with a great historical foundation

    What a great story pitting good versus evil in the earlier Texas cattle years of the 1870's. Although a bit wordy there is never a lack of description concerning the scene. The author does well in giving the reader a good picture of what the cattle towns and cowboys were like.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2008

    Good vs. evil, with a twist

    Built on a solid foundation of meticulous research, this story vividly portrays the austere beauty of the pre-settlement west and achieves vitality through the author's skilled development of its characters. The reader is afforded a rare glimpse of some of the more obscure aspects of Roman Catholicism, presumably drawn from the author's personal experiences. The book culminates in a struggle between good and evil which left my conscience battling a visceral reaction to the actions of the villain. I recommend this book to anybody who is fascinated by American history, or who just enjoys a good western.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2012

    Mr. Ritzer is by far one of the greatest Western Novel writer's.

    Mr. Ritzer is by far one of the greatest Western Novel writer's. With books like this depicting the life in the west is something everyone should read. I am waiting for the next novel to come to the bookstands.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    Something to Consider

    I do enjoy a good western now and then. Nothing in my opinion can ever come close to Lonesome Dove. That said...I purchased this book and soon found myself immersed in what I will call a religious tract wrapped in a history book. Through the main character you get a history lesson. You also get tedious ramblings. For example. The main character meets a woman in a dance hall. Following that we get his musings on love. Physical...religious...which rambles on for pages and pages. So I would be careful buying this book. The jacket gives not a hint that it is a book of this nature. Besides the religion and history lessons I think we get a glimpse of the authors political leanings. Knowing what I know now, I would not have purchased this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2008

    Imagine Larry McMurtry's LONESOME DOVE as if written by John Milton

    The literary genre of P. A. Ritzer's 2007 novel SEVEN OX SEVEN is hard to pin down. It is part well researched documentary of Texas history, geology and folk ways. It is also part story of a handful of people trying to make a living with cattle in the late 1870s in a remote canyon of the vast West Texas Staked Plain, Llano Estacado. But to me it seems mostly an epic poem reminiscent of John Milton's PARADISE LOST and PARADISE REGAINED. *** There is nothing subtle about how the religious dimension of this epic is presented. A very few examples: a cowboy riding the trail can be lifted toward his destiny as Jesus was honed by the ruggedness of his carpenter trade to take the trail to Calvary -- p. 86. There are three categories of people and their consciences: the lawful, the lawless and the semi-lawful, the last being those who push laws to their limits, 'finding and using every loophole in the law ... to get around the law through legal trivialities' -- p. 225. As the pioneers in Escondido Canyon celebrate together Christmas 1877, cowboy hero Tom Schurtz imagines how impossible it would be to entrust baby Bob, son of Schurtz's partner Luke Stuart, to a band of renegades. Yet that is just what God did with his only-begotten Son -- p. 325. Why are there no Comanches or any primitive people anywhere on earth that count as Rousseau's Noble Savages? How explain why so many men are evil? Only the Fall of Adam and Eve account for 'man's inclination to sin.' It is Original Sin that propels human history. Man's only hope is salvation through the Incarnate Word and the Church of Christ -- pp. 344 - 354. Two Catholic cowboys, Tom and young Andy, spend their Sunday mornings together fasting, praying and discussing religion --p. 371. When Tom left home at age 16, he had a sense of being called, a religious vocation to do what he was doing -- p. 409. *** Some of the copious theologizing is silent, done by cowboy hero Tom Schurz thinking to himself. Much of it, however, is by a cosmic narrator who not only has a God's eye vision of the events in the Texas Panhandle but is not afraid to sound like a prophet, invoking, texts, catechisms and ecclesiastical statements of the sometimes distant future. *** Such ruminations are not infrequent and can go on for pages. Nor are they all religious. Other digressions touch on Lincoln and slavery, history of the Republican party, homesteading versus the open range and on and on. *** Surprisingly author Ritzer pulls this gigantic project off rather well. Within the cosmic framework of Christian salvation, Texas geology, American political history, the last great buffalo massacre in Texas and other large boundaries, a handful of little people live and love, work hard, fight rustlers, shoot and eat bears and generally do the things we expect in Western novels. The resulting text is very, very long for the story it tells. But it has its lyric moments and in its leisurely digressions touches on and illuminates important themes. -OOO-

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2008

    The Wild West plus Religion?

    The research on this book was extensive and it should be a great western novel. However the author has insisted on making this a religious theme. Normally I just pass over the bibical references but in this book they are too many. I was looking forward to reading a great western novel and I am sorely disappointed.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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