Comanche Captive

Written by D. Lászlo Conhaim
Review by Janice Ottersberg

This story takes place during the U.S. Army’s Red River campaign in 1874 and the removal of Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, and Arapaho Indian tribes from the Southern Plains to reservations. Scott Renald, the Indian agent commissioned to search out and rescue white captives, met Laura Little in the Tonkawas’ possession while he was on a mission to find two young boys. Laura had been recently rescued from the Comanche, returned to her family in Fort Worth, and subsequently placed in an asylum for a suicide attempt. She escaped the institution to return to the son she had with Talking Moon, chief of the Quahada Comanche tribe, but ended up captive in Tonkawa hands. Renald negotiated her release, but she convinced him to help her return to her Comanche tribe. The U.S. Army finds out about Renald going rogue and sends a scouting team to bring him back. This adds another level of conflict to the plot with opposition from the Army and Tonkawas, plus traveling into dangerous Comanche territory. Along the way, he makes a discovery that turns this mission deeply personal.

Their travel back to the Comanche tribe is full of obstacles and hostilities, making this a good adventure story, and the reveal halfway through increased my engagement with the book. Unfortunately, the writing style doesn’t flow smoothly and is hard to follow at times. The author’s use of words is awkward: for example, the word “ambuscaded” is used in place of “ambushed.” The novel has an appealing plot, and I enjoyed it for this reason, but the writing took away from an otherwise good read. Overall, I would recommend it. It is an interesting look into this part of history.