The Taken

Written by Mike Kearby
Review by John Kachuba

In 1864 Texas two young brothers are surprised by Comanches. William, the younger brother, is taken by the Indians and raised as a Comanche warrior while the elder brother James, wracked with guilt about not protecting William, learns to seek revenge on all Comanches. On his part William, now known as Runs Horses kills the White invaders wherever he can find them. James is obsessed with finding his brother and William is fixated on killing the mysterious slayer of Comanches; it is inevitable that the brothers will meet.

There are interesting Comanche legends and lore in this novel for adults and young adults, and graphic, but realistic, combat scenes. The writing is marred, though, by irritating repetition; almost every character “snarls” his dialogue, or wears a “snarl” upon his face and James’ personal tic of “tapping two fingers” on his Colt revolvers is overblown. Also, the fact that the boys’ mother teaches James his tracking, shooting, and survival skills does not seem credible since the sickly Sarah never demonstrated those talents herself. Finally, the inevitable meeting of the two brothers is unsurprising and predictable.

This novel might be acceptable to the younger reader, but most adults will find it unremarkable.