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Children of the Dust Children of the Dust by Clancy Carlile

Children of the Dust. Gypsy Smith is a half-black, half-Indian gunfighter, bounty hunter, and scout who reluctantly accepts a job leading poor black sharecroppers from the South to the border of new territory for the Oklahoma land rush. Among his charges is a young woman, Drusilla, with whom he fall in love. On the eve of his wedding, there's trouble with the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan lynches two young boys. When he tries to follow the trail, Gypsy is wounded, castrated, and left for dead. But Gypsy doesn't die, at least not in a literal sense. The old Gypsy is dead, the one who liked a joke, who was in live, and who found beauty in the hard land. All that remains is a searing, all-consuming need to avenge his mutilators. One by one, he extracts his revenge, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. The local law, spurred on by Klansmen, begins a massive manhunt for Smith. The conclusion is as inevitable as the plot is predictable, with Smith meeting his end as an avenging angel to some and as a devil to others. There are sub-plots and parallel story lines, but none of note. This is serviceable western fare lent import due to the four-hour CBS miniseries that will air as the book is released. On that basis most libraries will experience demand, but don't get carried away. It's not special. Genre veterans Cameron Judd and Elmer Kelton produce better work regularly. View all my reviews >>

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