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+.
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