All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone

Written by John J. Jacobson
Review by B. J. Sedlock

…They’re off to join the French Foreign Legion! Or that’s Lincoln Smith’s ambition, at least. A young Texan around the turn of the century, Luddite-at-heart Lincoln is disgusted by railroads’ and modern machinery’s ruination of the code of the Old West. The motto “The Legion does not surrender” coupled with notions out of childhood adventure books inspire Lincoln to decide that the Legion is the place for him to escape modern life.

On his journey, Lincoln is befriended by two fellow Americans who want to join the Legion as the only means to get access to reported treasure in Mudi in Africa.  After various adventures in the camel train inland, they arrive at Legion headquarters and are given 24 hours to decide whether to commit. Lincoln’s prized rifle is stolen, and he goes after the thieves only to discover the French ambassador’s daughter, Amanda, has been kidnapped and held in the thieves’ tent.  He helps her escape, and her father asks Lincoln to be her bodyguard. Amanda’s taste for exploring leads them into danger when they interfere with Mudi’s Prince Kamak’s plans. He is conspiring with the German ambassador to stir up religious unrest over the crocodile god Thanatos, to hide the fact that the Germans are up to something.

The characterizations aren’t deep, but fans of adventure stories won’t mind that. Lincoln sees himself as a knight of old but is not a prig; the reader will root for him and the intrepid Amanda. Cross Beau Geste with Indiana Jones and that will approximate the tone. Treasure, torture, crocodiles, snakes, dueling with curtain rods, and escaping bad guys via balloon are some of the rollicking adventures awaiting the reader who doesn’t mind suspending their disbelief at some of the characters’ exploits. As a wish-fulfillment adventure, it’s a fun ride.