"Graced with vivid, vigorous writing.... [Charyn] has written the rousing yarn advertised in his title and dust jacket, and he has written it well."
"Jerome Charyn has long been one of our most rewarding novelists, and he has upped the ante in The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, his frolic about Teddy Roosevelt in the West."
"Who wouldn’t want to grow old like Jerome Charyn? Now in his 80s, the prolific writer seems ever more daring. Charyn has found a path all his own — neither a substitute for biography nor a violation of it.... For fans of Roosevelt, this is tremendous fun.... One of the melancholy pleasures of this novel is the contrast it continually presents to our current president. The reviewer’s handbook says I’m not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I have to offer some praise for this unusually witty dust jacket. It strikes just the right tone, as does this delightful novel."
"Jerome Charyn is a one off: no other living American writer crafts novels with his vibrancy of historical imagination. If you think his novels about Dickinson and Lincoln are virtuosic works of art, The Cowboy King will astonish you anew. Here is Teddy Roosevelt as you’ve never before experienced him, and as you won’t soon forget him."
"No one rewrites America's strange history or its maverick characters with more flair, sharp-shooting wit, and compassion than the many-sided Jerome Charyn. And in The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, he's done it again: he's written a raucous, poignant, charming novel about a raucous, poignant, charming Teddy Roosevelt, a man of his time, and ours. Don't miss it."
"Charyn captures Roosevelt’s doubts, aspirations and ebullient spirit.... A lively, warts-and-all portrait of an irrepressible man."
"Warning: don't turn to the first page of Jerome Charyn's remarkable new work of fiction The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King unless you have time to be utterly swept away for the next ___ hours."
"Marked from beginning to end by restlessness and adventure.... A ripping, enjoyable yarn."
"For TR, Mr. Charyn pulls out the stops offering up the man in his own voice, a magnificent mashup of macho and aristocrat.... Cowboy King is a novel at its best: engaging, immersive and compelling."
"Undeniably, a marvel.... Charyn’s empathetic first-person strategy keeps the tone sprightly positive."
A rendering of Teddy Roosevelt's early life that spotlights formative moments in colorful, entertaining episodes.
The young boy saw a werewolf near his bed at night when an asthma attack came on. As Teddy narrates, his father would order up "the Roosevelt high phaeton with its pair of long-tailed horses" and let the wind fill Teddy's lungs in thrilling rides on the "scorched plains of Manhattan's Upper West Side." He was the youngest man in the state Assembly, where he says he wore "a pince-nez with a gold tassel, and a peacoat from my Harvard days." When he lost his mother and wife within hours of each other, he fled west, to Dakota territory, "with silver stirrups, a tailored buckskin suit, and a Bowie knife from Tiffany's." But he's pulled back to New York, where he becomes a police commissioner fiercely disliked for his blue laws and anti-corruption drive. He's rescued from a melee at the Social Reform Club by his new squad of bicycle cops, whose leader will join him in Cuba. Before Charyn (Jerzy, 2017, etc.) ends with President William McKinley's assassination, he gives the Rough Riders a big slice of the book not just for TR's famous hill charge, but for the reluctant leader who could scrounge for his troops and suffer whatever the men suffered—though he also had a tent from Abercrombie & Fitch. The prolific Charyn has written scripts for graphic books. With TR, there's a sense of the outsize characters of 19th-century dime novels, though without the hagiography. Roosevelt embodied contradictions—a privileged reformist, a cowpoke from Manhattan, an honest politician—and his private life was riddled by strife and loss.
Charyn makes artful use of historical fact and fiction's panache to capture the man before he became one of the great U.S. presidents and a face on Mount Rushmore.
Charyn ("Isaac Sidel" series) deftly employs the literary conceits of the dime novel with this rip-roaring tale of adventure and romance. Readers take a roller-coaster ride through the amazing life of Theodore Roosevelt, from his childhood escapades on the streets of Manhattan with his father, Brave Heart, to his heroic charge up San Juan Hill with the Rough Riders, to his assumption of the presidency following the death of William McKinley in 1901. Teddy is the hero of this story, living up to the nickname of "Sinbad" affectionately bestowed on him by his wife, Edith. He is not only a one-man cyclone blowing through the political circus of his time but a champion of the environment, an adoring husband and father, and the beloved master of regimental mascot cougar Josephine. Charyn's Roosevelt is far from two-dimensional; a man whose compassion and concern for the less fortunate informed his daring deeds. VERDICT Lovers of biographical historical fiction, especially fans of Roosevelt, will enjoy this novel peopled by real-life heroes and villains.—Barbara Clark-Greene, Westerly, RI