The Winter Family

The Winter Family

Large Print - 2015
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After their actions during the Civil War lead to a courtmartial, a group of hardened Union soldiers recasts themselves as outlaws, and find that the disorder of Reconstruction allows for all sort of savage freedom. The psychopathic killer Quentin Ross; the mean and moronic Empire brothers; the impassive ex-slave Fred Johnson; dangerous child prodigy Lukas Shakespeare-- but the malevolent center of this 'family' is their cold, hardened leader, Augustus Winter, a man with an almost pathological resistance to the rules of society and a preternatural gift for butchery.
Publisher: Waterville, Maine : Thorndike Press, A part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2015
Edition: Large print edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9781410481658
1410481654
Branch Call Number: LP JACKM-C
Characteristics: large print
579 pages (large print) ; 23 cm

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isaachar
Dec 13, 2016

A gritty, dark western about a gang of late 1800's bandits and mercenaries. I'm a huge fan of stories based on villains, and that is exactly what this book is about. It starts off during the Civil War, introducing you to five of the primary characters in the story who meet while scouting for General Sherman's army. Right off the bat, you can tell this will not be a typical "hero rides off into the sunset" Western. In fact, without spoiling, I cannot think of a single character that could remotely be called a "hero", or even an "anti-hero". There are only villains who sometimes fight bigger villains.

The story jumps back and forward in time and around the country. Normally, I'm not a fan of that kind of non-linear progression in single stories, but it certainly works here. The one bone to pick I had was the (no spoilers) surprise character revelation in the latter half of the book. It was too easy to see coming. Other than that, it's a solid book I would recommend to fans of darker westerns, Shoot-em-up Action, and Gritty Historic Fiction.

The E-book short story "California 1901" by the same author provides a followup to the to the story. I thought it worked really well and was probably intended to be the final chapter in the book.

KateHillier Oct 29, 2015

A True Grit sort of read with a much, much higher body count. A gang that prospers despite the members not always getting along and prospering as long as there is American frontier to explore. As things become more charted and organized, things go less well. Time with each other also takes its toll too. It's an interesting read, certainly outside of my normal fare, but worth the diversion.

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