God's Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana (The Montana Vigilante Series Book 1) Kindle Edition
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From the Author
That moment stayed in my mind until decades later, when my husband and I returned to Montana to live. Then I set to work and read everything I could find about the Vigilante era of Montana history.
Once I got going on it, God's Thunderbolt took seven years to write. For the first five I thought about the characters and researched the Vigilantes mostly in Virginia City and in the Montana Historical Society archives in Helena, our state capital.
Research has never stopped, and one novel has led to four in The Vigilante Quartet. Beginning with God's Thunderbolt, the second novel is The Devil in the Bottle. The third book is Gold Under Ice. The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock, the fourth novel, is under way now. Hopefully, I'll have it out sometime in 2014, in time for the 150th anniversary of the creation of Montana Territory.
The Vigilante Quartet takes place during 1862-1865.
They tell the stories of people who made the toughest choices with courage, faith, and hope, to survive.
- ASIN : B0028AD8UE
- Publisher : Carol Buchanan Books; 1st edition (January 2, 2014)
- Publication date : January 2, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 2512 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 419 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #654,143 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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When I started this book, I had no particular interest in westerns or in the history of the west, nor have I ever been to Montana. I like legal thrillers, and this one seemed to have a unique historical spin. The character of Dan Stark grabbed me from page one. This lawyer-turned-surveyor begins the book as a meek, frightened man who's come to the gold fields of Montana to earn enough money to ransom his family's good name after his father's scandalous suicide. He's pretty sure that he's not going to survive long enough to complete his mission.
The Montana territory is overrun with murderers and thieves--supposed lawmen being the criminal ringleaders. The federal government, preoccupied by the Civil War, has been slow to even place the territory under the constitution of the United States. It is a place that's both outside the Sturm und Drang of the war between the states and yet is also deeply impacted by it, as both Union soldiers and Confederate, equally bruised by what they've endured on the battlefield, struggle to dig their futures out of the same ground.
Dan's downfall is double-edged--love and honor. When a friend is murdered in cold blood for his mules and gold, Dan cannot let the killers go unpunished. While there's plenty of fear to get in the way of his best intentions, it has no where near the power of Dan's yearning for the good opinion of Martha McDowell, the wife of a no-good drunk who keeps dangerous company. Martha demands the murdered man's friends bring him justice...and they do. In the process, they unleash a series of events that will either turn the Montana territory into a fit place for decent people or doom it forever.
Carol Buchanan is a skilled writer with a keen sense of her characters' emotional complexities. There's very little black and white in the universe she gives us. Her people struggle to come to grips with their own mixed motivations and tangled feelings. Her heroes have moments of profound weakness, and her villains are given space to demonstrate humanity as well as vice.
GOD'S THUNDERBOLT is rich with historical detail that portrays the daily hardships of surviving in a hostile, newly settled environment. Buchanan gives us all the sights, sounds and...(ick!) smells of life in an 1860s mining town. She also does a great job depicting the landscape with its harsh terrain and unforgiving weather.
The story itself is well paced and full of tension. There's a nice balance between action (the scenes of violence are graphic and realistic) and romance. You can feel the excitement build at the Vigilantes come together and grow into a force powerful enough to take control of the territory and force order out of chaos. At the same time, there's the suspense of Dan and Martha's mutual attraction...as undeniable as it is forbidden.
As I said, I wasn't all that interested in the history of Montana when I started this book. But, now that I've finished it, I cannot wait to read the rest of the books of The Vigilante Quartet.
I served as Master of the Research Lodge back in 1983, and today live on the shores of Lake Buchanan, Texas. once in a while you do find a coincidence in life.
My monograph was presented to Research Lodge years ago, and selected for inclusion in their archives. Because of my own Masonic history, I was able to obtain material from the Grand Lodge of Montana. My local library was able to obtain for me a copy of Paris Pfouts autobiography, so that I didn't make any glaring errors in my description of the president of the vigilantes, who was a wholesale grocer, confederate sympathizer and Past Master of Denver Lodge #5, whose mercantile establishment was used as a Lodge meeting hall before the Virginia City Lodge building was built, right next door. As president, Brother Pfouts signed the death warrants for the thieves and murderers who infested the area, under leadership of the local sherriff, calling themselves "Innocents".
Carol, tell us what your opinion is regarding the meaning of the numerals 3-7-77 Never mentioned in the novel, but
an interesting sidelight.
I am sure that a paper copy of the novel would give reference to the lightning strike on the cover, but the Kindle version never mentions it. I'm nearly certain that the lightning strikes the gallows at Bannack.
Readers, the majority of the characters in this book were living, breathing citizens of that time period. The romantic characters are fictional, but serve to fill out the story and satisfy those who want something besides historical events in their books.
After reading this book, I dug out my old monograph and checked through it. It's six pages long, and was presented to Research Lodge of Colorado on October 27, 2001. It was read verbally by one of the officers present that night, so it had to be fairly brief. The main thrust of the paper is "where did 3-7-77 come from, and what did it mean". I'm 81 now, and I still don't know.
Men poured in, many loyal to the south, others to the north, but some were members of a gang of ruthless killers who robbed and murdered across the countryside with impunity. Atop this web of lawlessness Buchanan weaves an intriguing story of an honest man, a New York lawyer, who is drawn into vigilante justice to clean the land of this evil gang even while he is falling in love with the wife of a roughneck who may well be one the killers he will have to hang.
Buchanan's characters come across with a stark realism while the deadly cold of a brutal Montana winter virtually shivers from the page. God's Thunderbolt is an exciting tale steeped in history and well worth the read.