The Borderland: A Novel of Texas
Reviewers should be as forthcoming and honest as possible in all their writings. In keeping with that principle, I will state that I am no enthusiast of American westerns. When I saw Edwin Shrake’s novel was about the early days of the Republic of Texas, I gave up any thoughts of pleasure and began the novel with a strong sense of dread. I must say I was absolutely mistaken. The story of the Texas of 1839 and the movement of the capital from Houston to Austin is peopled with some of the most intelligently drawn characters and the most well crafted plot developments that one will find in any type of novel. The writing is crisp and approaches elegance at times. Descriptions of Comanche life, the trials of the immigrants, and the nature of the raucous political machinations mesh quite well with the fictional lives of Captain Matthew Caldwell of the Texas Rangers and the half-Cherokee Romulus Swift. Imaginative and entertaining, The Borderland is an arresting introduction to Texas history and the saga of the American West told in microcosm.