Best 1919 Adventures (4)
January 7, 2019
One in a series of 10 posts identifying Josh Glenn’s favorite 1919 adventure novels. Happy 100th anniversary!
Max Brand’s Western adventure Riders of the Silences (serialized 1919; as a book, 1920).
Pierre le Rouge never knew his father, outlaw Martin Ryder; instead, he was raised by a kindly Canadian priest — who’d groomed Pierre to carry on his ministry, in that country’s northern wastes. All was going according to plan until Pierre’s father, who’d been mortally wounded by McGurk, a legendary — and supposedly unkillable — gunfighter, sent his son an urgent letter. Rushing to his father’s death-bed, eight hundred miles away, Pierre arrives just in time to renounce the priesthood… and swear vengeance against his father’s killer. Six years later, a hardened Pierre returns to the scene of the crime with a band of comrades, hunting for McGurk. New and interesting characters are introduced throughout the story, and there are plot twists and wrinkles — a chaste love triangle, a masquerade ball, gambling and thievery — aplenty. Brand is at his most compelling when he writes about wilderness living, hard riding, and gunfighting.
Fun facts: Frederick Schiller Faust cranked out many thoughtful, well-written Westerns, under a variety of pseudonyms — most famously, “Max Brand.” Riders of the Silences, originally serialized in the pulp magazine Argosy under the moniker “John Frederick” (misspelled on the cover shown here) is one of three Westerns that Faust published in 1919 alone.
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