Saga of a Texas Ranger–Series by Jeff Robenalt

Texas history and then some.

Book Review

Written By: admin

                                                                                             Book Review for Saga of a Texas Ranger 



           Early in Jeffery Robenalt’s “Saga of a Texas Ranger”the reader is concealed in the brushy thickets along the west bank of Plum Creek with the Rangers and the Texas militia, nervously awaiting the approach of the largest band of Comanches to ever invade the Texas settlements. Robenalt begins, “Then, just as the sky in the east began to pale with the coming of dawn, the Comanches finally made their appearance over the rim of the distant horizon, pushing the huge herd of stolen horses and mules hard. Their silhouettes, appearing as dark shadows cast against the bright orange disk of the rising sun, grew larger as they neared the creek.”

            Matthew “Old Paint” Caldwell urges General Felix Huston, who has assumed command of  the volunteers, to strike the Comanches while they’re driving the horses and mules across the creek, but the inexperienced Huston hesitates, insisting he must wait for reinforcements. Questioning glances pass among the volunteers as the war party is allowed to cross the creek unmolested and push the stolen herd out onto open prairie. Seeing clearly that the Comanches will escape if nothing is done, Caldwell convinces General Huston to at least advance the men into the open. The volunteers slowly emerge from the wooded creek bottom and form a long stirrup-to-stirrup line. Quickly adjusting to the threat, the Comanches form their own line between the volunteers and the stolen herd and begin to display daring feats of horsemanship, hoping to delay the attack until the younger warriors can drive the  stolen horses and mules to safety. Even though the Comanches are now within easy striking distance, General Huston is content to sit his horse and watch the show until a Comanche war chief rides forward and issues a challenge for individual combat. History tell us the Battle of Plum Creek was initiated by an unknown marksmen who killed the war chief with a single, well-placed rifle shot.

           Robenalt succeeds in breathing life into this historic moment by substituting his main character, youngCaleb McAdams, for the unknown marksman. “Unfortunately for the war chief, Caleb was fed up with what he considered to be useless games. This was the time to fight, and if no one else was going to do anything about it, he certainly would. Quickly bringing the long barrel of his Hawken to bear, he set the rear trigger and centered the sights on the colorful bone vest that adorned the war chief’s chest. Before either McCulloch or Hays could intervene, Caleb gently milked the front hair trigger. The deafening roar of the rifle immediately stifled the hoots and howls of the massed warriors. Sailing straight and true, the heavy .50 caliber ball slammed into the war chief’s fancy boned vest with the kick of a Missouri mule, exploding out the Comanche’s back and flipping him off the rump of his black stallion as if he had been swatted in the chest with an ax handle.”

            Readers will find themselves captivatedby the epic proportions of Robenalt’s “Saga of a Texas Ranger,” the story of sixteen year-old Caleb McAdams who, seeking revenge after his family is massacred during the Great Comanche Raid of 1840, joins Jack Hays and the Texas Rangers at the Battle of Plum Creek. For the next six years until the dawn of the war with Mexico, Caleb rides with Hays and his sidekick and fellow scout, Bigfoot Wallace, through some of the most memorable events in the history of the Texas Rangers; from savage encounters with the Comanches on the Upper Colorado and the legendary fight at Walker Creek, to pitched battles against Mexican troops at Salado Creek and the infamous border town of Mier.

            Through it all Caleb struggles to survivea deadly feud with the Pate brothers while coming to grips with his love for two women. The lovely and driven Wanda Cooper, torn between her love for Caleb and a life-long desire to further her education in New Orleans, and the beautiful and ambitious Lucinda Vaca, the daughter of Caleb’s ranching partner, who intends to take advantage of Wanda’s absence to win Caleb and help him build the thousands of acres he inherited from his father into one of the finest ranches in Texas.

           Jeffery Robenalt has created the perfect blend of accurate history, a rousing adventure story, and vivid descriptions of characters and settings that enable the reader to step into the storied past of Texas and the Texas Rangers. “Saga of a Texas Ranger” will appeal not only to lovers of Texas history and historical fiction, but also to those readers who normally avoid history as a dry, fact and date filled drudge. As New York Times best selling authorFlip Flippen said in his review, “You won’t want to put it down.”  You should get your own copy of this very intriguing and exciting book.

                                                                                                     —Kevin Braeutigam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>