God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana

God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana

by Carol Buchanan

Paperback(Large Print)

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Publisher's Weekly: "...an excellent western with an intense moral gravity."

Amazon Vine Review: "...history is brought alive with fine description and sensory detail."

Roundup Magazine: "...the finest novel of the vigilante era ever written. ... haunting and searing."

Ruffians rule and murder is tolerated in the Alder Gulch gold fields during the winter of 1863-1864.

Daniel Stark, lawyer and radical abolitionist, fears he will not survive to take his gold home to New York and redeem his family from the disgrace of his father's embezzlement and suicide.

When a friend is murdered, Dan prosecutes the suspect, whose five lawyers are Confederates.

When the trial reveals a widespread criminal conspiracy, Dan joins Union and Confederate sympathizers united in a determination to establish law and order where there is no code of law nor reliable law enforcement.

Going against everything in his training and personal beliefs, Dan helps to form a Vigilance Committee and serve as its prosecutor.

Then he faces the horrible prospect of hanging the husband of the woman he loves.

Winner of the 2009 Spur Award for best first novel.

Book 1 of The Vigilante Quartet by Carol Buchanan. Don't miss Book 2, The Devil in the Bottle; Book 3, Gold Under Ice; and Book 4, The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock, available now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781410465924
Publisher: Gale Group
Publication date: 03/12/2014
Series: Wheeler Publishing Large Print Western
Edition description: Large Print
Pages: 655
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Carol Buchanan writes historical fiction about the Vigilantes of Montana, who battled terror on the roads during the Civil War, when gold, greed, and a vacuum of law led to ruffians' rule and a tolerance for murder. Her fascination with Montana's Vigilantes began when she stood in the Hangman's Building in Virginia City, Montana, and heard the ropes creak. With a PhD in English & History, she has taught Montana's Vigilante History at Flathead Valley Community College in Kalispell, Montana. She enjoys reading, hiking, and watching movies with her husband of 40+ years, Richard.

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God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
clahain1 More than 1 year ago
In the winter of 1863-1864, a handful of brave men struggle to bring order to a territory overrun by criminals and roadside bandits. When I started this book, I had no particular interest in westerns or in the history of the west, nor have I ever been to Montana. I like legal thrillers, and this one seemed to have a unique historical spin. The character of Dan Stark grabbed me from page one. This  lawyer-turned-surveyor begins the book as a meek, frightened man who's come to the gold fields of Montana to earn enough money to ransom his family's good name after his father's scandalous suicide. He's pretty sure that he's not going to survive long enough to complete his mission.  The Montana territory is overrun with murderers and thieves--supposed lawmen being the criminal ringleaders. The federal government, preoccupied by the Civil War, has been slow to even place the territory under the constitution of the United States. It is a place that's both outside the Sturm und Drang of the war between the states and yet is also deeply impacted by it, as both Union soldiers and Confederate,  equally bruised by what they've endured on the battlefield, struggle to dig their futures out of the same ground.   Dan's downfall is double-edged--love and honor. When a friend is murdered in cold blood for his mules and gold, Dan cannot let the killers go unpunished. While there's plenty of fear to get in the way of his best intentions, it has no where near the power of Dan's yearning for the good opinion of Martha McDowell, the wife of a no-good drunk who keeps dangerous company. Martha demands the murdered man's friends bring him justice...and they do. In the process, they unleash a series of events that will either turn the Montana territory into a  fit place for decent people or doom it forever.  Carol Buchanan is a skilled writer with a keen sense of her characters' emotional complexities. There's very little black and white in the universe she gives us. Her people struggle to come to grips with their own mixed motivations and tangled feelings. Her heroes have moments of profound weakness, and her villains are given space to demonstrate humanity as well as vice.  GOD'S THUNDERBOLT is rich with historical detail that portrays the daily hardships of surviving in a hostile, newly settled environment. Buchanan gives us all the sights, sounds and...(ick!) smells of life in an 1860s mining town. She also does a great job depicting the landscape with its harsh terrain and unforgiving weather.  The story itself is well paced and full of tension. There's a nice balance between action (the scenes of violence are graphic and realistic) and romance. You can feel the excitement build at the Vigilantes come together and grow into a force powerful enough to take control of  the territory and force order out of chaos. At the same time, there's the suspense of Dan and Martha's mutual attraction...as undeniable as it is forbidden.   As I said, I wasn't all that interested in the history of Montana when I started this book. But, now that I've finished it, I cannot wait to read the  rest of the books of The Vigilante Quartet.