Custer´s Brother´s Horse
A brilliant novel of the terrible level of violence that afflicted Civil War America
A young Confederate captain with a grisly past as a cavalry raider in Tennessee is on his way home to his family plantation north of Houston in the last days of the Civil War. In Austin, Capt. Jerod Robin is accused of murder and is thrown into the stockade by U.S. Army Capt. Santana Leatherwood, a Texan whose family has feuded bitterly for decades with the Robin family.
In the stockade Robin meets British novelist and adventurer Edmund Varney, in Austin to write the life story of Lt. Tom Custer, heroic younger brother of famous General George Armstrong Custer. Varney is charged with attempting to steal Tom Custer´s legendary warhorse, Athena, upon whose back Custer recently won two Congressional Medals of Honor.
The two prisoners stand trial beside a 16-year-old mulatto girl, Flora Bowprie, who has come from New Orleans searching for her father but has been arrested as a runaway slave.
Homicidal events cause the rebel captain, the British author and the young fortuneteller to flee from a Cavalry squad led by Santana Leatherwood and Tom Custer, mounted on his great Arabian horse.
The story races to the inevitable showdown between the Robins and Leatherwoods, two families on opposite sides in the Civil War. But, before the final confrontation Jerod Robin hears a dark accusation about his birth and his mother that lends a special ferocity to the showdown.
Then the story of "Custer´s Brother´s Horse" takes a surprising twist. This is a horse for the ages.
"Bud Shrake, in my opinion always underrated, has produced in Custer´s Brother´s Horse a brilliant novel of the terrible level of violence that afflicted Civil War America. This book will move you and also haunt you."
William J. Broyles, Jr. (screenwriter - Castaway, Apollo 13)
"This is a western like Cold Mountain is a western, with much wisdom, mystery and beauty. And it is a great yarn, completely compelling." the ultimate guide to realize that dream."
"It´s 1865, the Civil War is just over, but some folks in Texas still settle Yank-Reb scores with bullets and nooses. Shrake´s 10th novel, a fast-paced western, begins with Confederate captain Jerod Robin waiting to be hanged for murder in Austin.
Also in the hoosegow waiting for the hangman is blustery English novelist Edmund Varney, who is accused of stealing the horse of Lt. Tom Custer, the famous general´s younger brother. Their jailer and tormentor is Santana Leatherwood, leader of a cold-blooded family of misfits who want Robin dead because of a family feud--and Varney dead just for the fun of it.
A wacky judge named Dingus sets both men free, but they and Flora Blowprie (a young black fortune teller also spared by Judge Dingus) end up fugitives again after Flora shoots a would-be rapist. En route to Robin´s family plantation, they pick up Isabella Bushkin, the abandoned wife of a disgraced Yankee politician, and now all four must shoot their way through soldiers, outlaws and Leatherwoods. A mysterious letter in Robin´s jacket,
Flora´s ominous predictions and the truth behind the Robin-Leatherwood feud add suspense to this action-packed yarn. The ending is delightfully unpredictable and provides a satisfying conclusion to this well-crafted western tale."