Monday, November 5, 2007

Saddlebums Review: Wilderness #53: The Rising Storm by David Thompson

Simon and Felicity Ward have built a home in the wilderness. They have the first functioning farm in the territory, and they—along with their young son Peter—are truly happy. It hasn’t been easy, but Simon’s hard work in the fields along with the seeds they brought from Boston are slowly overcoming the short growing season and their homestead is the envy of the territory.

Simon is a kind man, one who would rather nurture the land than cause damage to another person, and while he is making a living in the wilderness he is still something of a greenhorn. When a British Lord claims the Ward’s valley for himself, the family has little choice but to leave everything they have built, or fight. While the Ward’s are out numbered, their odds improve when a young man named Zach King makes himself known.

Zach is the son of the famous mountain man Nate King—the lead character in David Thompson’s Wilderness series who has only a limited role in this title—and he is known around the country as a fellow who likes to fight. When he hears the Ward’s story he immediately volunteers to deal with the problem, and take care of it he does—he faces down a small British army, a sadistic girl, and the British Lord himself.

Wilderness #53: The Rising Storm is the first title in the series I have read, and it wasn’t disappointing. It is a twist on the traditional western—it is set closer to 1830 than 1880. It is all action, and will appeal to anyone who enjoys the standard fare of competent, fast paced storytelling that defines most series writing. It has limited character development, and an abundance of light-hearted violence, but the story is fun and what it lacks in originality it makes up for in pure adventure entertainment. If you like this kind of fiction you should enjoy The Rising Storm.


Steve M said...

I been a fan of this series for years and enjoyed reading your review, particularly as it's your first Wilderness book. I do feel the series is best read in order, most of the regular characters development is done over a number of books, for instance from Zach Kings birth to how he is at present. The Wards appeared in earlier books too.

Hopefully this series will continue for a long time yet. It looks like #1 is due for another republication early next year.

I did find it strange when you included Wilderness in your first pole here as it isn't an adult series and the other three were.

Keep up the good work here, Steve.

Anonymous said...

Great seeing one of the WILDERNESS books being reviewed. I had noticed that the WILDERNESS series had placed in the top rank in popularity among all the other series listed in a recent poll here of western series.

The WILDERNESS series has 60 books and includes GIANT editions. It has spanned over 17 years and continues to be hugely popular among readers. I applaude Dorchester in its continued publishing support of this series.

It is a family oriented series. I have gotten requests for more information regarding this series from teachers in school systems to first time readers who read one book and can't wait to get their hands on the rest of the series.

I've known Nate King since he was a pup in the WILDERNESS to being a mature mountain man with an Indian wife Winona who have managed to raise two very different children, Zach and Evelyn.

It is a tale of survival in a harsh environmet and the quest for living free. Not an easy task in a wilderness setting with abundant dangers around every tree, not the least an encroaching civilization with all that goes with it from greenhorns to greed. The stories are full of rich characterizations and cliff hanger stories.

As in any long standing series that has lasted close to two decades the author has quite the ability in keeping stories fresh and his audience on the edge of their seats waiting for the next installment in the adventures of the King family in the WILDERNESS.


Duane Spurlock said...

Several years ago, a buddy encouraged me to try some of William Johnstone's mountain man series, but I kept putting it off; although I liked westerns, the idea of a mountain man novel didn't appeal to me (although JEREMIAH JOHNSON is one of my favorite movies). Then, a few short years ago, I tried the first Wilderness novel. I was hooked.

This is a wonderful series, and that it's been published for more than 10 years says a great deal about its excellence. I heartily recommend any of the novels in this series to anyone.

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