The Border Men (Tennessee Frontier)
The Border Men continues the saga of the Colter family during the years of the American Revolution. For Captain Joshua Colter, adopted son of aging frontiersman Alphus, the conflict brings with it the opportunity to exercise his abilities as a leader. The Colters, including Joshua’s brother Cooper Haverly, are members of the patriot Rangers, a civilian troop whose duty is to protect the settlements in the mountains of east Tennessee. Their war is fought mainly against pro-British Tories and their Native American allies, the Chickamaugas and Cherokees. Chief among the Tories in this story are the Brechts, brothers Elisha and Solomon, whse blood feud with the Colters predates the action in this installment. Sentiments run deep on all sides, making reconciliation seem impossible. A secondary plot involves the movement of settlers to the Cumberland area, or what we know today as Nashville.
Undeniably, Judd has a good command of the history of this period and place. His knowledge of the details of frontier living and the methods of mountain-style battle adds to the realism of the story. The squeamish reader, however, should be aware that there is plenty of blood and gore in The Border Men, as most attacks take place more or less face to face using knives, axes, fire and long rifle.
Unfortunately, Judd is not a skillful writer. To his credit, enough background is given to make it easy for first time readers like myself to start with Book Two. But this can’t excuse words that are misused, overused or made up altogether. As for continuity, one character, Callum McSwain, leaves for the Cumberland Country in Chapter 3. Surprisingly, he turns up in Chapter 8 before leaving for the Cumberland Country again. This reappearance is eventually explained, but easily could have been handled sooner and made less confusing. In summary, a good editor could turn this into a more readable book.