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Wildfire is a horse story with people in it.

The setting — Utah wilderness bordering the Colorado River — becomes a part of the action.


Wildfire by Zane Grey
1917 bestseller #5. Project Gutenberg EBook #2066. My grade: C+.

Wildfire getting started high in the mountains.

   Wildfire includes a real wild fire.

If Lucy Bostil loves horses, her father might be said to lust after them. John Bostil wants to own all the fast horses.

In the mountains, Lin Slone is trailing a wild stallion called Wildfire.

At last, Slone gets close enough to lasso the red stallion.

Exercising one of her father’s racehorses, Lucy finds Slone’s mount and Wildfire, both exhausted, and Slone himself badly battered.

The horses and Slone both fall for Lucy.

Lucy and Slone decide to have Lucy ride Wildfire in the big race against her father’s Sage King.

That sets up Lucy to be kidnapped and held for ransom while her kidnappers are pursued by horse thieves.

The fast-paced story is told by an omniscient narrator through an annoying series of “meanwhile back at the ranch” shifts.

There’s little character development: People don’t analyze events or reflect on behavior.

But few novelists can match Zane Grey’s physical descriptions. I found myself holding my breath as Slone and his horse slid and scrambled down and up the Grand Canyon’s walls.

Despite its flaws, Wildfire is breathtaking reading.

© 2017 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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The Mysterious Rider is a classic Zane Grey western, combining romance with adventure cushioned by the sights and sounds of the untrammeled frontier.

Bill Belllounds wants his son, Buster Jack, to marry the girl he raised after her family was killed in an Indian attack. She’ll comply to please her adopted father, but cowboy Wils Moore has touched her heart.

Belllounds must find hands willing to work with Jack, a bully and an abuser of horses. A stranger, who says his name is Bent Wade, answers the call. Wade has been wandering ever since his girl and their child disappeared in an Indian massacre.

You don’t need a map to know where the story goes from there. You know what the cowboy stands for and what he won’t stand for. By the code of the old west, the handsome young cowboy will get the girl, and the bad guys will get their comeuppance.

Grey’s predictability is part of his appeal. Readers enjoy an excursion through pristine wilderness led by a novelist who may be the best nature painter to ever dip his brush in ink—and to do it all from the comfort of their favorite chairs. No wonder Grey’s novels keep on selling year after year.

The Mysterious Rider
by Zane Grey
1921 bestseller #3
Project Gutenberg EBook #13937

© 20111 Linda Gorton Aragoni

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