The girl lifted her skirts away from her feet and eased toward the small brown-mottled duck on the creek bank. It was busily investigating a small marshy area where water had seeped past the bank. Alma wished she’d brought her bow and arrows, but she’d been sent out to collect greens, not meat.
The duck had its back to her. Alma eased forward and crouched, getting into position. Her right foot pressed her skirt into the mud, but she didn’t notice.
The duck turned slightly. Alma lunged forward. As her hands touched the bird’s smooth feathers, her foot ground into her skirt, yanking her off balance. The duck flew off with a panicked series of quacks and Alma pitched forward into the mud.
“Hell and damnation!” she said angrily. “I hate dresses!”
She got to her feet and looked down ruefully. Her mother was not going to be happy.
Knight’s Odyssey is the second in W. Michael Farmer’s Legends of the Desert series and follows the now-fictional Henry Fountain into new terrain.
I say “now-fictional Henry Fountain” because, as those of you familiar with the name know, the historical Henry Fountain disappeared in the deserts of New Mexico when he was eight years old. The first book in the Legends of the Desert series Mariana’s Knight, focused on his disappearance and imagined a way in which he might have survived and revenged his father’s assassination.
This second book in the series imagines Henry’s life after that revenge, taking him into Mexico and through a series of adventures that sees him fall in love and experience even more reasons for vengeance. But revenge isn’t the only purpose in Henry’s life. The story ends in an unexpected way that made me eager to read the next book and find out what happened next.
Knight’s Odyssey is more than a action-filled western with strong characters and well-described landscape. It’s a well-balanced story that looks at both the motivations that drive us and what gives our lives meaning. I recommend it!
“I suppose he had to go,” she said. She was sitting on the front steps, her father beside her.
He nodded. “He was killing the chickens next door. They won’t stop once they taste blood.”
“He was so beautiful,” she said. “And he loved to be brushed and petted. And sit by me while I did my homework.”
He touched her hair. “I’m sorry,” he said.
She nodded, her eyes filling. “I wish it didn’t have to be this way,” she said. “I don’t want another dog ever again.”
He put his arm around her. He suspected that the neighbor’s dog was pregnant, probably by the male who had just gone to the vet to be put down. By the time those puppies were born, she should be ready for another dog. He pulled her closer. There was no point in saying anything about that right now, though.