“A haunting novel about hubris and its consequences.” —Larry McMurty, New York Times bestselling author on Snowbound
Gladstone Brass found out how to make his livelihood during the thirty years he prospected the arid wastes of the Nevada desert. He pried ore out of the few small deposits he discovered, then went to town—which he hated—only long enough to trade his bits of gold for the supplies he needed. Otherwise, he was devoted to keeping these arid, secret wastes all to himself, and that meant driving out rivals, invaders, interlopers, and adventurers. His only friend and companion was Tía María, a burro he’d caught in a desert canyon after his mule died from a snake bite. His great enemy was Bitter Bowler, a younger man, but run-down and dishonest.
One day, Brass spotted buzzards circling, and curiosity led him to investigate. He found a dead burro and an injured Bitter Bowler with his revolver trained on Brass. Bowler claimed he had broken his leg and couldn’t move. He wanted Brass’ water. When Brass refused, Bowler shot Tía María, then told him the next shot would be for him if he didn’t leave his water and supplies and get more water and something he could use for a crutch. Brass agreed and headed for Angel Cliff seep, the nearest water supply. He was debating whether he should go back to rescue Bitter Bowler when he arrived at the seep to find a stranger camped there who immediately turned, his gun pointed right at Brass.
“A taut drama about one of the most controversial issues in the modern West…Magnificent, believable characters…Wheeler has another award winner on his hands.” —Tulsa (OK) World, on Buffalo Commons
“One of the greatest Western writers around today.” —Publishers Weekly
“A promising start in what appears to be an absorbing, authoritative series.” —Kirkus Reviews, on Rendezvous
Richard S. Wheeler is the award-winning author of historical novels, biographical novels, and Westerns. He began his writing career at age fifty, and by seventy-five he had written more than sixty novels. He began life as a newsman and later became a book editor, but he turned to fiction full time in 1987. Wheeler started by writing traditional Westerns but soon was writing large-scale historical novels and then biographical novels. In recent years he has been writing mysteries as well, some under the pseudonym Axel Brand. He has won six Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America and the Owen Wister Award for lifetime achievement in the literature of the American West.