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The Horse Tamers (Tierra del Oro, Vol. 8) Paperback – September 28, 2012
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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Three other novels not a part of the saga are: Floyd and the Traveling Yard Sale, a collection of humorous short stories which presents life in a South not too far in the past. I Rode with Cullen Baker, based on a real-life Texas outlaw 1864-5. The script version won 1st place in the Split-Screen $1000 competition. STRONG COFFEE, a YA/A contemporary "road story."
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Similar to this theme is the taming of the relationship between half brothers Domingo and Sereno. They continue to despise and distrust each other while competing for the mastery of horses, for the affections of their father and the girls who cross their paths. Growing up is never easy for them or their father. Hartmann hits the right notes with their father, Ramon who brusquely deals with both, but privately deals with each of them according to the wisdom gained from his own experiences. Balancing his worry with pragmatism is Anita his wife, who sees the possibilities beyond the problems.
Central to the story is the long abandoned house and estate that Ramon takes establishing himself and his family and the villagers to create a new life. Unexpectedly an American shows up who claims he bought the property before the war and has title deed. They find themselves leaving one war to fight another for property. The theme of who owns what and by what rights weaves from the obvious about the estate into the brothers relationships with each other and their amores. Does Tereza belong to Domingo or Serano? What about Christine or Mina?
Horses wild and tame, people wild from war and lawlessness settling back down and drawing new laws and boundaries are interwoven into the wildness of young hearts finding love and their places in the new world.
The protagonist, Ramon, and a group of his friends, go out on an expedition to corral some wild horses. While on the hunt, they discover an abandoned hacienda. After acquiring the property, Ramon, his family, and a band of followers move in and bring the estate back to life. With time and hard work they create a successful and self-sustaining community.
Shortly after, the previous owner of the estate returns from America and vows to take back his property. With force if necessary. That's the main plot of this volume, but the growth and development of the characters and their interactions is what brings the story to life.
As Ramon's two sons, Domingo and Sereno, develop into young men, their rivalry grows. A new baby girl also comes into the family, and few characters from previous volumes return to more tension.
The Horse Tamers is a very entertaining read and the story maintains the reader's interest throughout. A lot of things happen in this story, but the action is always clear and engagingly described. As in the other books of the Tierra del Oro saga, the characters are realistically portrayed with depth and a sense of purpose and destiny. It is easy to believe these characters really lived. Many small details about life in early 20th century Mexico help add realism.
Overall I think this is probably the most engaging of all the stories in the Tierra del Oro series to date, which says a lot since they have all been captivating. Highly recommended.