Frontier Justice Runs in the Family
Falcon MacCallister couldn't duck his father's legacy as a shootist in the Wild West--and he's never tried to. A man who lives between two worlds, Falcon has a reputation of his own--and it's about to plunge him into a different kind of war.
On a stagecoach in southern Arizona, Falcon is ambushed. But the only people who die are the shotgun guard and a beautiful young Indian woman returning from school in the East. While Falcon has a choice to walk away, a violent conflict is erupting among the natives. The dead woman was the daughter of a powerful chief with links to Geronimo and Cochise--and a tinderbox has been ignited. Falcon knows that the innocent will die with the guilty if the murderers aren't caught soon. And in a land where nothing is quite what it seems, Falcon MacCallister is the one man who has the courage, the gun, and the bloodline to bring justice to a wounded and violent land. . .
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REVENGE OF EAGLES
By WILLIAM W. JOHNSTONE FRED AUSTIN
PINNACLE BOOKSCopyright © 2005 William W. Johnstone
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFalcon MacCallister stood on the depot platform at Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Behind him, the train popped and snapped as the bearings and gearboxes cooled. The relief valve vented steam in puffs that made it sound as if the mighty engine was trying to recover its breath after a difficult run.
Standing slightly over six feet tall, Falcon had shoulders so wide and muscular, and a waist so flat and thin, that his suits had to be custom-made for him. His eyes were pale blue, staring out from a chiseled face. He had wheat-colored hair, which he wore short and neat under a black hat decorated with a turquoise-encrusted silver band. Right now he was wearing a black suit with a crisp white shirt and a black string tie.
He had come to Glenwood Springs because an old friend was here. Walking across the depot platform, he threw his grip in the back of a hack.
"The Glenwood Springs Hotel," he said.
The driver snapped the reins over his horse and the Light Brett carriage pulled away.
"You moving to our fair city, or are you just here for a visit?" the driver asked over the clip-clop of the horses' hooves.
"Ah. And will you be taking our waters? The sulphur springs are good for what ails you."
"Well, you certainly picked a good time to visit us. We are having a beautiful spring," the driver said. Realizing then that his passenger wasn't much of a talker, the driver stopped trying to make conversation, and concentrated on his driving.
The Hotel Glenwood sat in such a way as to allow its front door to open onto the corner of Fifth Street and Colorado Avenue. It was a large, imposing edifice that could compete with just about any hotel Falcon had ever seen, including those in New York. It was three stories high, with dormer windows in the roof that made the attic usable as well. A roofed balcony wrapped around the second floor, providing an arched roof for the ground-level porch.
Falcon paid the fare, then stepped into the hotel. The lobby was large, with overstuffed sofas and chairs, highly polished brass spittoons, and a few potted plants. The carpet was light brown, decorated with a pattern of roses.
"Yes, sir," the clerk behind the desk said brightly. "Come to take the waters?"
"No. I need a room."
The clerk turned the registration book toward him, and Falcon signed in.
By the time Falcon finished signing, the clerk was holding a room key. "Very good, sir, you'll be in Room 307, Mister...." He looked at the registration; then his eyes grew wide and he swallowed. "MacCallister? You are Falcon MacCallister?"
"Oh, uh, Mr. MacCallister, I beg your pardon," he said. Turning, he hung the key back up on the board, then got another one. "Three-oh-seven would not be an appropriate room for you. I'm sure you will find this one much more to your liking. It is three-oh-one, it's our corner room, and as you'll see when you go up there, it has cupola windows, which will provide you with an excellent view of our fair city."
"Is there anything else I can do for you?"
"Yes. I believe John Henry Holliday is staying in this hotel."
"Doctor ..." The hotel clerk gasped. "Good Lord, sir, do you mean Doc Holliday?"
"Well, yes, yes, as a matter of fact he is a guest in our hotel. He is here in Glenwood Springs, taking the cure for his tuberculosis."
The clerk smiled. "He is in three-oh-three, which, as it turns out, is right next to your own room. But you won't find him there now. He is down at the springs. He generally returns to the hotel around suppertime, though."
Falcon went to his room. His name often elicited the kind of response he got from the hotel clerk. There were those who said that he was one of the most accomplished men with a six-gun to ever roam the West. Stories about him were told and retold until they reached legendary proportions, and Falcon MacCallister seemed larger than life.
But the truth was, and Falcon understood and accepted this ... many of the stories told about him had actually happened to his father, Jamie Ian MacCallister.
From the War for Texas Independence to the Colorado Rockies, to the goldfields of California, to the battlefields of the Civil War, Jamie MacCallister had made a name for himself, raised a family, and amassed a fortune. If some of Jamie's exploits were confused with some of Falcon's, it was understandable. On the other hand, Falcon's own exploits had put his name in the history books, alongside that of his storied father.
The corner of Falcon's hotel room was circular and surrounded by bay windows that, as the clerk had promised, afforded excellent views of both streets. A settee and an easy chair converted the corner into a sitting area. Falcon stepped up to the windows and looked out over the town, and into the mountains beyond. He recalled his first meeting with Doc Holliday.
After Falcon's wife, Mary, was killed by renegade Indians, Falcon started moving. He had no particular place to go, and nothing he had to do when he got there. But somehow moving around seemed to help him get over the pain of his loss.
He found himself in Tombstone, Arizona Territory, during one such sojourn, and as he stood at the bar in the Oriental Cafe, two star-packers stepped up beside him. One of the deputies was very short, but with a prominent belly rise. The other, who was younger, was reed-thin and gawky.
"Mister, Your name wouldn't be Falcon MacCallister now, would it?" the short, fat one asked.
"You're under arrest."
"For murder, or so the wanted posters say."
"Deputy, if you've got paper on me, it's no good," Falcon said. "All the dodgers have been recalled."
"I don't remember no recall notice," the short one said, his hand moving toward his pistol. "I'm Deputy Stillwell, and I'm puttin' you under arrest."
"I told you, the papers have been recalled. Check with the sheriff."
Stillwell shook his head. "Can't do that," he said. "Seein' as how Sheriff Behan's outta town, why, that makes me'n Jimmy here in charge."
By now the confrontation between Falcon and the deputies had caught the attention of everyone in the saloon, and all other conversation came to a halt. Over in the corner, Falcon saw a well-dressed man sitting by himself. He had a deck of cards spread out in front of him, and was playing solitaire. He continued to play, but it was clear that he was monitoring everything that was going on.
"All right, if you insist, I'll go to the sheriff's office with you, and find the recall notices," Falcon said.
"We ain't goin' nowhere till your hands is up and your holsters is empty," Stillwell said, starting for his gun.
As quick as thought, Falcon drew both guns. He had them cocked and aimed before either of the deputies could clear leather.
The two deputies slowly raised their hands, their eyes wide with naked fear.
"What ... what're you goin' to do with us, mister?" the one named Jimmy asked.
Falcon let out a long sigh. "Well, I'll be damned if I know," he said. "I just came into town for a drink, meal, and bath. I guess we can go on over to the jail, like we were going to, and I'll prove to you that I'm not a wanted man."
At that moment, Falcon noticed that the man in the dark suit, the one who had been playing cards, got up from his corner table and approached them.
"Good afternoon, Mr. MacCallister. My name's John Henry Holliday."
"Holliday?" Falcon asked. Then something about the man matched a description he had heard once. "Would you be Doc Holliday?"
"That's what they call me," Doc Holliday replied.
Falcon had heard of Doc Holliday, and he wondered why he was stepping in to take a hand in the situation.
"Perhaps I can be of some assistance here," Doc said, answering Falcon's unasked question. He nodded toward the two deputies. "These two misguided gentlemen lack the intelligence of a cow turd. But I'm sure they thought they were just doing their job."
Falcon nodded. "As slow as they are, maybe they should start thinking about some other form of employment."
Doc chuckled. "I imagine that thought is going through their little pea-sized minds right now."
Doc turned toward Deputy Stillwell. "Suppose I take Mr. MacCallister over to the city marshal's office and have Wyatt check him out. Would that satisfy you boys?"
Both nodded their heads. "Yes, sir, Doc," Stillwell answered.
Doc glanced back toward Falcon.
"That all right with you?"
"Sure, fine, just so I get something to eat before much longer." Falcon holstered his pistols, but so quickly had he drawn them that Stillwell and Jimmy knew they were in as much danger from him now as they had been when he had the guns in his hands. They kept their hands up.
Oh, for cryin' out loud, will you two idiots put your hands down?" Doc said to them. Then, turning back to Falcon, he said, "It is all right for them to put their hands down, isn't it?"
"Yes, of course," Falcon replied.
With a sigh of relief, both Stillwell and Jimmy lowered their hands.
"I tell you what, Mr. MacCallister," Doc began.
"Falcon," Falcon corrected.
"All right, Falcon it is. Right after we see Wyatt and get this straightened out, we'll go to Campbell and Hatch's saloon. They've got the best food, and what's more important, the best whiskey in town."
Falcon's reverie was interrupted by the sudden outbreak of a deep hacking cough, coming from the hall just outside his room. Falcon moved to his door and opened it, just as Doc Holliday was using the key to his own room.
"Damn. I'm going to have to write a letter to the governor," Falcon said. "It appears that they will let just anyone into the state now."
Doc looked up with a quick flash of anger. Then, as he recognized Falcon, the anger left his face to be replaced by a broad smile.
"Well, as I live and breathe ... barely ... if it isn't Falcon MacCallister!"
"In the flesh," Falcon said.
Doc stepped toward him with his hand extended. "Damn, Falcon, I can't tell you how pleased I am to see you."
"Hello, Doc," Falcon replied, extending his own hand. "What's new?"
"I'm dying," Doc replied. He laughed. "But then there is nothing new about that, is there? I've been dying for the last fifteen years. I tried to get someone to shoot me along the way, but I kept running into idiots who couldn't shoot their way out of a paper bag. What are you doing in Colorado?"
"I live here, remember?" Falcon said.
"Oh, yes, you have your own town, as I seem to recall. MacCallister, Colorado."
"Not my town," Falcon said. "It's just a town with my father's name."
"Well, come on in and have a drink. I've got whiskey in my room."
"Sounds good to me," Falcon said.
Doc returned to his door and started to unlock it, but before he could do so, he broke out into another spasmodic round of coughing. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket, and Falcon saw that it was already discolored with flecks of blood.
After the coughing spell, Doc put the handkerchief away and smiled wanly at Falcon.
"I beg your pardon for that outbreak," he said.
Falcon didn't answer, because he knew no answer was required. Doc managed to get the door unlocked; then he pushed it open and made a gesture of invitation with his hand.
Doc's room was obviously a residential rather than a transient room, for it had, in addition to the hotel furniture, a few things that were Doc's personal property. Next to a chair, there was a table on which lay a deck of cards spread out in an ongoing game of solitaire. There was also a cabinet, which Falcon did not have in his room.
Doc reached into the cabinet to pull out a bottle and two glasses. He poured the whiskey, then handed one of the glasses over to Falcon.
"Here's to old times," Doc said, lifting his glass.
Falcon returned the salute. Then, stepping over to the cabinet, he examined Doc's collection of photographs.
"That was my mother," Doc said, pointing to the photograph of an attractive woman who was sitting with the stiffness so necessary for photographs.
"And that one is ...?" Falcon asked, pointing to the photo of a younger woman.
"Big Nose Kate," Doc said.
"Oh, yes, I thought I recognized her. Whatever happened to her?"
Doc picked up the picture and looked at it for a while, then put it down.
"She went back to whorin'," he said dismissively.
"Hell, it don't matter none to me. If she can still sell her ass, more power to her, I say."
"Here's one of Wyatt, I see."
"You ever hear from Wyatt?"
"From time to time," Doc said. "I think he's out in California, or maybe up in Alaska now. You know how he moves around."
"Yes," Falcon said.
Part of Wyatt's moving around, Falcon knew, had to do with the fact that he had revenged the murder of one brother and the crippling of another by going on a killing rampage that didn't end until every one of his adversaries were dead.
"So, do you stay in MacCallister all the time now, or do you still move around a bit?" Doc asked.
"I move around."
"Do you ever get back down to Arizona?"
"I haven't been there for a while."
"Would you like to go back?"
"I don't know. Maybe I would someday. If I had a reason to go."
"What if you owned a silver mine? I mean one that actually had silver. Would that be reason enough for you to go back to Arizona?"
"I don't know. Perhaps it would. Why do you ask? Do you have something in mind?"
"It just so happens that I own a silver mine down there in the Cababi Mountains, near Oro Blanco."
"Do you now?" Falcon said, smiling. "How is it doing?"
"I can answer that in two words," Doc said. "It isn't."
"I thought you said it actually had silver."
"It does, and that's the hell of it. Truth is, I think there's probably ten times more silver still there than has been taken out. But I can't get anyone I trust to run it."
"That can be a problem."
"How would you like to own the mine?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'll sell it to you for five thousand dollars."
"Doc, if, as you say, there is still a lot of silver in the mine, you know it is worth more than five thousand dollars. Why would you sell it so cheaply?"
"What good is a lot of money to me now?" Doc asked. "Look, I figure I've got no more than six months left to live ... a year at the absolute most." He took in the room with a wave of his arm. "I'm running out of money, and when I can no longer pay for this room, I'm going to be kicked out. I'll wind up in the poorhouse."
Excerpted from REVENGE OF EAGLES by WILLIAM W. JOHNSTONE FRED AUSTIN Copyright © 2005 by William W. Johnstone. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Lays on her bed
Another Falcon MacCallister book, easy read, no missing dialog like in "Cry of Eagles" which had missing dialog on a dozen pages (bad printing/editting job)...
This was a book that in the night I would want to read it was great!!!!!!!!!!:-)2