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Comanche Moon by Larry McMurtry
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The cover of Comanche Moon announces that it is the “final volume of the Lonesome Dove saga,” a series of four novels of the Old West by Larry McMurtry. It may have been the last one composed, but it is a prequel to its more famous ostensible sequel, Lonesome Dove.

Comanche Moon is a pretty good tale in its own right. In it, we meet most of the characters who achieved fame in the television miniseries of the earlier written Lonesome Dove. It is a long (752 pages) narrative that rarely drags. The principal characters, many of whom are Native Americans, are always interesting. McMurtry’s inhabitants (both red and white) of southwest Texas in the mid 19th century were extremely tough and often brutal. Nevertheless, some of them achieve a high level of dignity in McMurtry’s telling, even if they (the Comanches) are inclined to torture their captives or (the Texas rangers) hang their suspected criminal prisoners without trial.

When we enter the minds of the Indians (that’s what they were called in those days), we encounter spirits, witches, and omens. I don’t know whether the Indians back then actually thought that way, but the trope is useful as a way of emphasizing a very real difference in perception between them and their Texan enemies.

The meta-message behind the literal narrative is the end of the Comanche’s way of life as white settlers move in and drive away the great buffalo herds that were their primary source of food and clothing. Their great war chief, Buffalo Hump, leads one last great raid from the plains all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, but in the end even he realizes that not only he, but his entire culture, is dying.

A fine tale, well-told.

(JAB) ( )
  nbmars | Aug 11, 2014 |
Comanche Moon takes place between the novels Dead Man's Walk and Lonesome Dove and I initially chose it because of the Spur Award but it also fit the RandomCat and the AlphaCat.

Although long and a little hard to get into I really did enjoy McMurtry's story and may eventually read one of the other books in the Lonesome Dove series. There were two reasons why it went slowly at first: the first short chapters were each about a different character or small group of characters and so the narrative seemed to be jumping around a lot until one got them all sorted out; then my husband found the video of the TV production at the library and wanted to watch it right away (mostly because Call was played by Karl Urban and McCrae by Steve Zahn). This was an interesting experience but I did slow down on the book until we had watched all three parts of the video. One thing I particularly noticed - most of the dialog was lifted straight out of the novel although there were some cuts and rearranging of some scenes.

Comanche Moon begins with Gus and Woodrow as Texas Rangers and follows their lives before and after the War Between the States. Much of their 'rangering' involves keeping the Comanches at bay and pushing them back in order to protect the settlers coming west. McMurtry also gives us the point of view of the Comanches through characters such as Buffalo Hump and Kicking Wolf. The descriptions of the Texas countryside and life in the city of Austin at that time were also very good. The novel became a real page-turner in both Part Two and Part Three and I would recommend it.
  hailelib | Apr 30, 2013 |
The third novel (time line wise) in the Lonesome Dove series, and through the first three, the second best. The story continues after ‘Dead Man’s Walk’, and tells the story of Gus McCrae and Woodrow Cal. The story has the two men becoming Captains of the Texas Rangers, and also introduces Lonesome Dove characters Blue Duck, Pea Eye, Newt and Deets. The old stories that the gang tells in Lonesome Dove have their routes in this book of the series. McMurtry is an excellent story teller. His character description is un-believable. He tells what the characters are thinking, how they are affected by each other and the world around them. Reading this series from Lonesome Dove on did not ruin the story for me, but sticking to the time line in reading would have made it a truly epic experience. Onto ‘Streets of Laredo’. ( )
  choochtriplem | Aug 28, 2010 |
The entire series is among the best I have ever read, and this novel is the jewel in the crown. ( )
  isaf60 | Sep 17, 2009 |
I loove this book and miss the characters when I am done reading it. That's why I have read it multiple times. ( )
  MandyPFW | Aug 28, 2009 |
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For Susan Sontag: She's rangered long...She's rangered far...
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Captain Inish Scull liked to boast that he had never been thwarted in pursuit—as he liked to put it—of a felonious foe, whether Spanish, savage, or white.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0684857553, Paperback)

In a book that serves as a both a sequel to Dead Man's Walk and a prequel to the beloved Lonesome Dove, McMurtry fills in the missing chapters in the Call and McCrae saga. It is a fantastic read, in many ways the best and gutsiest of the series. We join the Texas Rangers in their waning Indian-fighting years. The Comanches, after one last desperate raid led by the fearsome-but-aging Buffalo Hump, are almost defeated, though Buffalo Hump's son, Blue Duck, still terrorizes the relentless flow of settlers and lawmen. As Augustus and Woodrow follow one-eyed, tobacco-spitting Captain Inish Scull deep into a murderous madman's den in Mexico, their thoughts turn toward the end of their careers and the women they love in remarkably different ways back in Austin. What's amazing about McMurtry's West is that he sees beyond the romance. Neither his Indians, his cowboys, his gunslingers, nor his women act the way they did in either Zane Grey novels or John Wayne movies. Incredible beauty and lightning-quick violence are the bookends of his West, but it is the in-between moments of suffering and boredom where McMurtry shines. The suffering is poignant and heart-rending; the boredom tempered with doses of Augustus McCrae's sharp humor. Don't be surprised if you find yourself crying and laughing on the same page.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:43 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Two Texas Rangers fight Indians and bandits while trying to sort affairs with their women. One is Gus McCrae, a hard-drinking womanizer jilted by his love, the other is sober Woodrow Call, father of a boy by a prostitute.

» see all 5 descriptions

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