Title: Sixkiller, U. S. Marshal
Author: William W. Johnstone with J. A. Johnstone
Set right before the Civil War, the story begins with the American Indians being taken from various territories, regardless of their tribe, and placed on a reservation. Through the long journey to get to the reservation, many died in what in history is known as The Trail of Tears. There were intermarriages taking place between the white man and women from the various tribes because of love or greed. No white man was allowed to own land within the reservation unless he was married to an Indian, and even then the land was leased to them. While most of the story is fictional, there are parts where the reader will be able to identify the historical backdrop where the story takes place.
One couple had a son who was named John Henry Sixkiller; his mother was the daughter of a Baptist preacher. John Henry’s father was Cherokee. Before long John Henry’s father was killed, the Civil War broke out with men of various tribes fighting on both sides. Some of the notorious characters in the story were riders with Quantrill. Some fought on the side of the Confederacy and some were on the other side. John Henry wanted no part of the war, but he found himself a part of it nonetheless.
After returning home, he was a policeman for the Indian reservation, but his authority went no further. He was shy and smitten with Sasha Quiet Streams. What held him back from marriage was his fear of making her a widow because of his work. Having earned a glowing reputation, John Henry was made a U. S. Marshall, but not in the circumstances you would think.
Between various assignments John Henry lived to protect the lives of all people regardless of heritage. The race for land and adventure through Indian Territory was on when trouble began exploding all around. The Army refused to enter the land or the fight. Who did they send? Yes, John Henry because he had respect for all mankind. However, not all were enamored with John Henry. Some wanted to kill him and tried, but failed. One man had a hate that ran so deep he committed kidnapped someone. Others joined him for the promise of money, but who was behind all the trouble?
In this western work, there is some “salty language”, but it isn’t done in a way as to make the reader want to put the book away. Like a rock skipping on water, there are a few references to a woman’s upper body part, but the focus quickly shifts to the story and is told as part of the story not just because it might make the book sell. This was the first western I have read by this author and his co-writer niece, J. A. Johnstone. Her uncle, William W. Johnstone, taught J.A. the art of telling a good story, passing down the family talent to another generation. While I would prefer reading books without the “salty” language, I can say that it I didn’t find it distracting me from reading. I love western books, and while I believe the way women had to live or choose to live is part of the western history, the language I am not sure of. But, again, I thought it wasn’t enough to be offensive or distract from the art of telling the story of life in the west. I recommend the book by this author, but just beware of what it does contain sprinkled throughout the book.
My rating is 3 ½ stars.
Note: I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book. The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility. Other reviews can be read at http://seekingwithallyurheart.blogspot.com/ . Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at https://www.facebook.com/lisa.johnson.75457