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The Shirt On His Back
     

The Shirt On His Back

4.8 8
by Barbara Hambly
 

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The new 'Benjamin January' novel from the best-selling author - Abishag Shaw is seeking vengeance for his brother's murder - and Benjamin January is seeking money after his bank crashes. Far beyond the frontier, in the depths of the Rocky Mountains, both are to be found at the great Rendezvous of the Mountain Men: a month-long orgy of cheap booze, shooting-matches,

Overview

The new 'Benjamin January' novel from the best-selling author - Abishag Shaw is seeking vengeance for his brother's murder - and Benjamin January is seeking money after his bank crashes. Far beyond the frontier, in the depths of the Rocky Mountains, both are to be found at the great Rendezvous of the Mountain Men: a month-long orgy of cheap booze, shooting-matches, tall tales and cut-throat trading. But at the rendezvous, the discovery of a corpse opens the door to hints of a greater plot, of madness and wholesale murder . . .

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lt. Abishag Shaw of the New Orleans City Guards, keen to apprehend the man who killed his younger brother, hires his friend Benjamin January to help track down the culprit in Hambly's superb 10th historical featuring the black freeman (after 2010's Dead and Buried). Left nearly penniless by the 1837 New Orleans bank failure, January needs no persuading to leave his beloved newly pregnant wife, Rose, and travel hundreds of miles into the Green River wilderness in the Rocky Mountains. Along the way, January and company encounter eccentric trappers, reptilian fur traders, tragic prostitutes, raging missionaries, and sensitively three-dimensional Sioux, Omahas, Crows, and Blackfeet. Their expedition plays out against the British-U.S. rivalry for the enormously profitable beaver fur trade, while American covered wagons toil on toward Oregon. As January struggles to survive fatigue, starvation, and assorted psychological horrors, Hambly convincingly shows that revenge must finally give way to justice. (June)
Booklist
Benjamin January, free man of color in New Orleans, needs money. All the banks in the country have crashed, and his wife is expecting their child. When Lieutenant Abishag Shaw of the City Guards offers him a job, he jumps at it, despite the fact that it will take him away from home for an extended period. Shaw seeks vengeance for his brother's murder and believes the killer will be at the rendezvous of mountain men in the Rocky Mountains. The annual encampment involves drinking cheap liquor, engaging in shooting matches, and swapping tall tales as well as selling furs and making shady business deals. Amidst it all, the body of a clean-shaven man wearing only a pair of black kid gloves turns up. Abishag and Benjamin uncover a sinister mass murder plot as they investigate. The latest entry in this flamboyant historical series is again full of period detail. Hambly paints a vivid, convincing picture of the life of free blacks before the Civil War.
Library Journal
The tenth entry in this outstanding historical series (Dead and Buried) is set in the Rockies as our hero, a free man of color, attends the annual rendezvous of mountain men.
Kirkus Reviews

A man heads into Indian territory in 1837.

When the banking system fails and his work as a New Orleans musician dries up, Benjamin January, a free man of color, leaves his pregnant wife Rose to venture west with Lieutenant Abishag Shaw of the New Orleans City Guards. Shaw will pay him to help find out how his young brother Johnny came to be scalped at Fort Ivy, a fur-trade station some six weeks' distance beyond the frontier. Shaw's other brother, Tom, head man at the fort, discounts the story that Johnny ran afoul of a marauding Blackfoot. He believes that Johnny died because of Boden and Hepplewhite, two men intent on causing trouble at the summer Rendezvous. Tracking them, Shaw, January and his recovering opium addict friend Hannibal (Dead and Buried,2010, etc.) learn of skirmishes between the Hudson Bay Company and the American Fur Company for beaver pelts; the near-rape of a member of the Omahas; and an old dead man left naked by hands that could have belonged to Omahas, Sioux, Blackfeet, Crows, Delawares, Shoshones or even Manitou Wildman, the raging giant whose boxing skills almost defeated January. Seven white men and many Indians will die before the New Orleans contingent is captured by the Crows and delayed justice is meted out.

An absorbing if appalling look at whiskey debauchery, suspect rifle trading, smallpox devastation, a mass poisoning endeavor, the decimation of the beaver population and grisly confrontations with warring tribes, all of which surround a classic whodunit.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781780100180
Publisher:
Severn House Publishers
Publication date:
10/01/2011
Series:
Benjamin January Mysteries , #10
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
423,658
File size:
524 KB

Meet the Author

Barbara Hambly (1951) is an American author and screenwriter who works in a variety of genres including fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and historical fiction. She is most well known for her Benjamin January historical mystery series, about a free person of color in antebellum New Orleans. From 1994 to 1996 she served as president of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of American and won the Locus Award for Best Horror Novel for her 1989 novel Those Who Hunt the Night.

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Shirt on His Back 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
ICanDoThis More than 1 year ago
I am a huge Barbara Hambly fan, and have enjoyed Ben January's life since the first one I read (A Free Man of Color). Hambly does a fabulous job with historical fiction - her scenes are exactly right, and I always feel as though I have plunged into a different time, with no confusing distortions. And this is no exception - the combination of real characters like Kit Carson, being pictured as they appear in other original sources, with friends that I have gotten fond of, is magnificent. But the reason that this is a 5 rather than just a 4 is that Hambly "mystery" has gotten better. At the beginning, I was not as attached to the crime as I was to pre-Civil War New Orleans, and in this book, I am totally enjoying the mystery, the ambiance, and Ben and Hannibal, and getting to know Abishag. All together, a tour de force by one of my favorite authors at her best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Shaw has been one of my favorite characters since the first time he showed up. He's such and interesting foil for the other characters. It was great to see January and Hannibal out of New Orleans and into the wilderness. The secondary characters were well written, especially Manitou and Morning Star. And I'll even admit that the ending made me a little misty. Very well done.
Robins_Son More than 1 year ago
Left nearly penniless by the 1837 New Orleans bank failure, January leaves his beloved newly pregnant wife, Rose, and travels hundreds of miles into the Green River wilderness in the Rocky Mountains. He is hired by his friend Abishag Shaw to accompany him on a mission of vengeance to find the killer of Abishag's younger brother, who has been traced to the huge yearly Mountain Man Rendezvous. There they uncover a sinister mass murder plot as they investigate. The latest entry in this flamboyant historical series is again full of period detail. Hambly paints a vivid, convincing picture of the life of free blacks before the Civil War, and of the men who roamed the wilderness to trap for furs.
DebE22 More than 1 year ago
In this installment, Benjamin help Lt. Shaw seek his brother's killer in the mountains of the West. Through the tale, several tribes of Indians are introduced with conflicting interests along with new characters and circumstances. A good whodunit and fascinating recounting of the lives of fur trappers and the companies who fostered them.
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fr0gpond More than 1 year ago
That question is the heart of Barbara Hambly's latest Benjamin January mystery, a thoroughly entertaining expedition away from the complex social stratum of New Orleans into the chaos of the Mountain Rendezvous of the fur trappers and traders. Financial difficulties and friendship have resulted in both January and the consumptive fiddler Hannibal Sefton accompanying New Orleans City Guard Lieutenant Abishag Shaw to the 1830s American frontier. Shaw is on a mission that puts him at odds with his innate sense of duty. He is seeking to find and execute without trial the murderer of his younger brother, one of the few family members that Shaw had left behind in a lawless world when he sought the veneer of civilization and order in the south. If he fails in this task he'll lose the respect of his elder brother, yet if he succeeds he may very well lose his own sense of worth. January is greatly concerned for the mental states of both Shaw and their withdrawal wracked friend Hannibal, not to mention constantly worried for the health of his wife Rose, who is awaiting the arrival of their first baby back in fever-ridden New Orleans. However, this does not stop him from enjoying the ready welcome and acceptance fostered by the dangerous conditions and rare opportunities to see fellow men on the frontier that he, as a free man of color, has never received in his own hometown. Even though he more than once finds himself in uncomfortable conditions and mortal danger he is fascinated by the wild beauty of the untamed environment as well as the vibrant personalities surrounding him. The Mountain Rendezvous brims with colorful characters, serious drinking, outrageous contests and even a unexpected wedding. Having been delighted by delving into Hannibal Sefton's checkered past in the previous novel, I was excited to learn a little more about the origins of the deceptively unsophisticated and dangerous but fair Lieutenant Shaw. The bleak reasons for abandoning a way of life at which he was surpassingly skilled - his father called him "best killer on the mountain" - are quietly revealed, although there is still much left undisclosed about his upbringing and education in the hills. Most of all, Hambly still hasn't answered the question of why Shaw, unlike his rather conventionally named brothers Tom and John, was stuck with Abishag!