… as good as Lonesome Dove… WOW!
When it comes to historical fiction “sagas”, Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry has long been my personal standard for BEST. Everything else is varying degrees of “…good but not “Lonesome Dove good”. I may be making room on that literary pantheon for another historical fiction “saga”.
Gone With The Wind… Roots… and The Godfather were all “pretty good” too.
Most of you know Lonesome Dove from the 1989 made-for-TV mini-series epic starring Robert DuVal and Tommy Lee Jones as Texas Rangers Augustus McRae and Woodrow F. Call on the western frontier in the 1870s. That TV series came from a 1985 novel by Larry McMurty.
If you have seen the mini-series and did not find it VERY special, you and I likely have differing points-of-view on other issues. I have used “what did you think about Lonesome Dove?” as a determining factor in pursuing friendships.
McMurtry wrote three more books based on the fictional adventures of McRae & Call characters. Chronologically, those books are…
1. Dead Man’s Walk – set in the early 1840s
2. Comanche Moon – set in the 1850–60s
3. Lonesome Dove – set in mid-to-late 1870s
4. Streets of Laredo – set in the early 1890s
I have read them all. Lonesome Dove refers to the whole body of McMurtry’s work about Gus & Woodrow. “Streets of Laredo” takes place after Gus’ death at the end of Lonesome Dove. “Dead Man’s Walk” and “Commanche Moon” are prequels to LD chronicling their early adventures. All four books have been made into mini-series. DuVal and Jones acted only in the original LD.
Robery DuVal says “Gus McRae” was his greatest career role. This coming from “Tom Hagen” – consigliore to both Vito and Michael Corleone.
I remember who recommended I read “this book about The Mafia” back in 1970. It was former Mizzou linebacker Nip Weisenfels.
In 1985, my friend Bob Cohen recommended Lonesome Dove. Bob and I had served as judges for Kansas City Kings’ Glitter Girls tryouts. He was Director of Marketing for the Dallas Mavericks at the time… pre Mark Cuban.
Want me to remember you? … recommend an awesome book I must read and will subsequently never forget. Hard to imagine a more special gift to give to a friend … a wonderful book.
Twenty years ago, I recommended Kid read Watership Down by Richard Adams. She has yet to do so. Some day she will… will understand why… and will think kindly of me… sigh.
You should also read Watership Down… an “epic” about the adventures of a group of rabbits… sounds really exciting, huh. Check it out.
Speaking of Kid… THE TWINS ARRIVED YESTERDAY (Sun 1/7/17) after ONLY 22 hours of labor. “Scout” was first at 8 lbs 11 oz and “Ruthie”, right behind her, at 7 lbs 4 oz.
Mother and daughters are all just fine and healthy as can be. The parenting / grandparenting experiences have formally begun. For the record, I am requesting to be either “GrandDad” or “GrandDaddy”. Always thought “Grandpa” sounds too “Dogpatch”. But not sure I get to make that decision…
My new definition of “fretting / anxiety”= Be 961 miles from your daughter while she endures 22 hours of labor… with a frantic son-in-law who is “not really sure how to text”. Aaaarrgh.
Back to great literary adventures…
If Lonesome Dove was special to you, you “get it”. If you are more into the dire need for “indoor practice facilities” and hating Dan Kane and kneeling Kaepernicks then maybe you don’t “get it”.
Anyhow… I recently discovered a series of eight books by Angus Donald about “Robin Hood” as told through the eyes of Alan Dale… one of Robin Hood’ “Merry Men”. I am midway thru book #5.
As you know… I listen to audible books from Audible.com. Each audible novel is 12-15 hours long. I go thru them in about a day/half while multi-tasking.
It’s what I do while some of you are watching ESPN, The NFL The NBA or CNN.
They are available in hardback / paperback from Amazon and BarnesNoble. The first book in The Outlaw Chronicles series is The Outlaw.
Robin Hood was a legendary mythical character. There is no historical proof that such a man actually existed in 1190s-early 1200s in England.
There WAS a Richard The LionHeart and Prince John and The Crusades; but no group of “good outlaws” in Sherwood Forest “robbing from the rich and giving to the poor” and being very good archers. Just as there were no Texas Rangers named Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call.
The time frame of the eight books has young Alan Dale, a 12-year old boy stealing to survive in 13th century feudal England… joining Robin Hood’s band… and, along with Little John, becomes Robin’s right-hand man and eventually a Knight in a series of high adventures across Europe… including a quest for The Holy Grail.
That quick explanation does not do Angus Donald’s vivid imagination justice.
As with The American Western frontier in the 1870s… 13th century Europe was often quite violent and “live was cheap”. These Robin Hood novels are graphically violent in places with quite bad people doing bad things to good innocent people.
Donald’s characters are colorful as are McMurtry’s. The heroes are flawed and the villains are REALLY evil. What do I know… but, I believe he accurately depicts life in those times.
If I have sparked your interest, definitely read them in order starting with The Outlaw. Each of the eight novels builds on the previous adventures.