Monday, December 17, 2007

Barnaby Skye Novels by Richard S. Wheeler

In July Forge released three older titles in the Barnaby Skye series written by Richard S. Wheeler. The covers are unique in the Western novel world—they each have a beautiful landscape photograph that captures the rugged wild places of the Western United States, and they fit the stories Richard Wheeler writes perfectly. Mr. Wheeler doesn’t write about trail herds, gunmen, Sheriffs, or any of the other stereotypical themes—he writes about Mountain Men, Native Americans, miners, and the harsh, beautiful landscape that created the legends of the West.

The Barnaby Skye series is a beautifully rendered landscape of the early explorers of the West. Mr. Skye is a man of his time and of the land. His wife is Crow, and together they build a life in the vast wilderness. The novels can be read in any order—at least that is how I have read them—and the three that have been re-released with new covers are: The Far Tribes (the third novel); Wind River (the seventh novel); and Dark Passage (the tenth novel).

The synopsis for each novel was taken from the Barnes & Noble website.

Synopsis for Dark Passage:

It is 1831 and Barnaby Skye, the deserter from the Royal Navy turned Rocky Mountain trapper, joins his wife, Mary Quill Woman of the Crow nation, in a journey to her village on the Yellowstone. "Victoria", as Skye calls her, is unhappy with her husband. He drinks too much, and seems afraid to help fight her people's enemies. She falls under the spell of Jim Beckwourth, the wealthy mulatto war chief of the Crows, and in a raid against the Blackfeet, ancient enemies of her people, she is abducted.

Now, Skye must come to her rescue in the Canadian wilderness, win her back from the deadliest of all the mountain tribes, and win her heart again.

Synopsis for Wind River:

Barnaby Skye, the former Royal Navy Captain turned trapper has been offered a lucrative proposal from the US Government. His intimate relations with many Indian tribes, and his marriages to their women, have landed him a job as scout and translator for the government’s Indian Affairs. The proposal he must present to the natives: a lopsided treaty in favor of the colonists or certain annihilation.

Torn between the two nations, Skye makes his decision when a powerful army officer threatens his wives and vows to destroy Skye for betraying his country.

Skye must face off against rogue factions of the US Army in hopes of seeing a peaceful and fair treaty through, and the survival of his family and the Great Plains tribes.

Synopsis for The Far Tribes:

There are many legends of great mountain men, hunters and trappers who manage to survive on their own in the harsh landscapes and forests of the West. The frontier is full of adversity, from blood-hungry natives to the vicious beasts of the mountains, and the one name that all men of the frontier praise and whisper as if in prayer is Barnaby Skye.

Elkanah Morse came west from Lowell, Massachusetts with one goal in mind: to study the ways of the far tribes. But entrance into their world is not easy. Only one man is capable of bringing him to the natives safely, only one man who knows exactly what to bring for trade.

But Skye’s advice is not enough. When rumors begin to spill that Morse is being held captive by one of the most vicious tribes in the mountains, Barnaby Skye feels compelled to take to the mountains and rescue the man . . . but he must face his most brutal battle yet.

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