Code Of The West

Written by Aaron Latham
Review by Meredith Campbell

The Arthurian legend retold, this sweeping saga becomes Camelot in Texas. Fate rescues Jimmy Goodnight (King Arthur) from the Comanches who savaged his family. An awkward adolescent in the white man’s world, Jimmy changes his life at a country fair by miraculously freeing an ax (Excalibur) embedded in an anvil. With the prize money and a dozen, awed cowboys, he sets out on his quest to raise cattle and build the Home Ranch, his “kingdom.” Courage and luck prevail until he meets Jack Loving (Sir Lancelot du Lac) and Revelie (Queen Guinevere), daughter of the Bostonian with whom he forms a partnership. Loving embodies everything Jimmy is not: graceful, a dead shot, and a good dancer. Goodnight and Loving bond like brothers. Unfortunately, they both love the same woman. Along the way, Jimmy and the “Home Ranch boys” make a dangerous enemy of a local outlaw, Gudanuf (Merlin). Into this mix Latham stirs an understanding of Indian thinking and plot surprises that delight. Minor characters live and breathe, even “burp,” as does Revelie’s “dragon” mother.

Latham has pulled off the kind of saga not seen since Lonesome Dove. A page-turner, Code of the West informs, entertains, and inspires.