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The Sergeant's Lady Mass Market Paperback – May 4, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Reminiscent of a John Wayne movie-- appropriate since Swarthout adapted his father's story The Shootist for film--this good old-fashioned cavalry yarn features a host of wily Apaches, a crusty veteran general and his reliable sergeant, a beleaguered rancher, and an intrepid young woman/love interest. All these familiar characters are interwoven into a compelling--if recycled--tale of passion and valor on the western frontier. Set in the wilds of post-Civil War Arizona, the narrative pits the U.S. cavalry--represented in fine fashion by General Nelson A. Miles and his sidekick Sergeant Ammon Swing--against Geronimo and his band of fierce and experienced warriors. Caught in the middle of the conflict are rancher Jacob Cox and his plucky sister, Martha. When romance blossoms between Ammon and Martha, the stakes grow suddenly higher for all concerned. Inspired by a short story penned by the author's father, novelist Glendon Swarthout, this stirring adventure is a writer's tribute to both his old man and a time-honored literary and film genre. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"A beautifully written novel filled with historical facts concerning both men in the Army and the Apaches.  Interwoven with Swarthout's account of the final campaign against the Apaches under Geronimo, is the tender love that develops between Sergeant Ammon Swing and Miss Martha Cox, a woman on the sunny side of forty. There is not a weak point in The Sergeant's Lady. The dialogue is authentic and occasionally amusing to our modern ears; the characters are complex and three-dimensional; the sense of place is as strong as an unwashed Private of Cavalry."   Doris Meredith, the Roundup

"Swarthout based his novel on a short story his father published in the 1959. The author paints excellent word pictures, and the story moves at a rapid pace through the short chapters. The character development is many cuts above most genre novels. Minor characters such as Sgt. Swing's men and the fierce Apaches are all distinct individuals. Swarthout imparts much interesting information about Apache and Cavalry life without force-feeding the reader.  An outstanding Western, worthy of many re-reads. 
B. J. Sedlock, Historical Novels Review

"This good old-fashioned Cavalry yarn features a host of wily Apaches, a crusty veteran  General and his reliable Sergeant, a beleaguered rancher, and an intrepid middle-aged woman/love interest.  All these familiar characters are interwoven into a compelling tale of passion and valor in post-Civil War Arizona.  Inspired by a short story penned by the author's father, novelist Glendon Swarthout, this stirring adventure is a writer's tribute to both his old man and a time-honored literary and film genre." 
Margaret Flanagan, Booklist, for the American Library Association

Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Forge Books (May 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765344246
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765344243
  • Product Dimensions: 4 x 0.8 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.1 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,008,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Miles Swarthout is the Spur Award-winning author of his first novel in 2004, The Sergeant's Lady. Westerns have been Miles' specialty, as he also wrote the screenplay for The Shootist, John Wayne's final film, based upon Miles' father, Glendon Swarthout's classic novel, which also won a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America in 1975. Miles was nominated for a Writers Guild award as Best Adaptation in 1976, when The Shootist movie was released. That film has since come to be regarded as one of the Duke's very best Westerns, with its stellar cast of Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, Richard Boone, Scatman Crothers, and other well-known supporting actors. Miles has recently published a sequel novel, The Last Shootist, in hard cover from Forge Books/Macmillan, which debuted in October, 2014, to terrific early reviews.

Miles lives in Los Angeles near the beach and LAX and has adapted others of his dad's novels, including A Christmas Gift (available on Kindle downloads), which became the 1978 CBS TV-Movie, A Christmas To Remember. Miles continues to write screenplays, and one of them, The Homesman, again based upon one of his late father's original Western novels, is now in release as a feature film, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, and Hilary Swank. The
film premiered at the famous Cannes Film Festival in May of 2014. This frontier Western is now in selected theatres for Oscar consideration, considering that 3 former best actor winners are in its cast. An ebook and trade paperback edition of The Homesman are now available on Amazon Books.

The rest of the Swarthouts' book titles are also available for downloading on Amazon's Kindle EBook readers. Miles has a Western short story in the Western Writers' anthology, Roundup!, published in June, 2010, and a chapter on the making of The Shootist in a newly revised Wayne fanbook, Duke: We're Glad We Knew You, currently available from Citadel Press/Film.

Check out the Swarthout's entire backlist and the 9 movies made from them on their literary website, That website also contains Miles' short comedy film, Mulligans!, which stars Tippi Hedren and Marcia Rodd, and won 8 prizes in film festivals world-wide, besides airing 50 times on the Womens' Entertainment (WE) cable TV network. Mulligans! streams for free.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ron Franscell, Author of 'The Darkest Night' on May 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Miles Hood Swarthout comes by his western sensibilities honestly: His father, Glendon Swarthout -- author of "The Shootist" and "Bless the Beasts and the Children" -- was in the vanguard of the "new" western literary novelists who blended history, landscape and character in a fresh way.
Miles' new novel, "The Sergeant's Lady," is literally in that tradition, based upon one of his father's stories. It has all the hallmarks of a good, traditional western adventure, and the literary flourish of contemporary western writers. His beautiful writing and fast-paced action-adventure take us back to those golden days of yore, when good stories had both.
For fans of the Old West, the Indian Wars, or just good fiction, this is a marvelous addition to your bookshelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kay Benjamin on March 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Other reviewers and readers have aptly summarized the plot and basic ingredients of Miles Swarthout's "Sergeant Lady." I know reviewers have been ask to focus on content.
As a writer and a teacher of writing, I may, however, have yet another perspective about the "contents" of the novel.
I believe I know substance and style in all genres and forms of writing whether it appears in a novel, a poem or a drama. Certainly, the best of writing in any form contains the elements of the others.
Swarthout's novel manages to do this. It has moments of thought provoking, sensory imagery of poetry as well as the solid, vital characters and action so important to drama. Content and form are solidly merged, individual sentences and paragraphs flow, quicken and then burst into emotions and actions. Dramatically, the characters' actions are true to their personalities.
Finally, while all this is quite literary, readers, including high school students from very diverse backgrounds, simply like a good story. Let's hope "The Sargeant's Lady" is not too narrowly perceived as just a "Western," but is also seen as a human drama with a wide appeal, a great book and one with the visual aspects and drama just meant for movie-making. .....Member of the National Writing Project, Endowment of Arts and Humanities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Theodore R. Kennedy on April 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Apache Indian warriors were among the greatest mounted fighters of the 19th -- and perhaps any other -- century. In attacking they shot under the horse's neck, holding themselves on the horse with their left foot. It was impossible to catch an Apache, unless you were another Apache. They were also at or near the top of the list when it came to stealing and marauding.
For a vivid picture of this dramatic and murderous tribe, read Mile Hood Swarthout's book, The Sergeant's Lady, a skillful elaboration of a short story written by Miles' father, Glendon Swarthout, famous for his stories of the American West.Published by Forge, the book is a fast and fascinating read, giving a vivid picture of America's Southwest in the era after the Civil War.
T. R. Kennedy, Prof. Emeritus, Mich. State University
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