tire to the life of a country gentleman.
His sister's voice cut into his musing. She had two tones. One might be called her social register. It was smooth, gentle--the low-pitched and controlled voice of a gentlewoman. The other voice was hard and sharp. It could drive hard and cold across a desk, and bring businessmen to an understanding that here was a mind, not a woman.
At present she used her latter tone. Vance Cornish came into a shivering consciousness that she was sitting beside him. He turned his head slowly. It was always a shock to come out of one of his pleasant dreams and see that worn, hollow-eyed, impatient face.
"Are you forty-nine, Vance?"
"I'm not fifty, at least," he countered.
She remained imperturbable, looking him over. He had come to notice that in the past half-dozen years his best smiles often failed to mellow her expression. He felt that something disagreeable was coming.
"Why did Cornwall run away this morning? I hoped to take him on a trip."
The story begins with the death of an outlaw, Black Jack, which is witnessed by a spinster and her lazy brother. Black Jack had an infant son, now orphaned, and the brother and sister discuss the topic of nature vs. nurture. The spinster determines to raise the infant and make an honest man of him. Her brother bets the child will kill a man before age 25.
Fast forward to just before the boy's 25th birthday. The spinster's brother, fearing his sister will disinherit him in favor of her adopted son, arranges for the boy, Terry, to discover his father's identity and to meet the man who killed his father from ambush. Terry challenges his father's killer and shoots the man in a fair duel. Terry then flees his home in disgrace.
Terry tries to live an honest life but no one will trust the son of Black Jack to be an honest man. He keeps encountering members of his father's criminal gang, and in the end moves in to the headquarters of the gang, where the gang leader's daughter falls for him.
Terry seems to be going to the bad, killing a man in a shootout and planning and executing a robbery. Is he doomed to follow in his father's footsteps, or can he be saved by the love of a good woman? Read the book to find out.
Very nice, thoroughly enjoyable. :)The ending was a bit rushed, but the characters and their relationships more that made up for it. Recommended. :)
I just loved this story. Makes you want to read more westerns. I highly recommend this one. Max Brand at his best. It has a wonderful ending.
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