It's a heck of a story, based as it is on The Great Apache Expedition of 1932. What? You never heard of it? Probably the last Old West clash between the Apaches and the White Eyes. The expedition was raised to rescue the son of a Mexican rancher, the son having been kidnapped by the Apaches. The expedition was mostly a publicity stunt, and most of the participants weren't cut out for the Wild West, including the flamboyantly gay Tolley Phillips, Jr.; Big Wade, the professional photographer and drunk who's more or less the seventeen-year-old Ned's mentor; and Ned himself. Others are better suited to the ordeal. Margaret Hawkins is the daughter of an explorer and has been on expeditions before. And they've led to her own dark secrets.
The Great Apache Expedition was real, but the book is of course fiction. Fergus does a great job with the landscape of the Sierra Madres, with the characters, and with the action. The first two-thirds of the book are bouyed by Ned's good spirits even in the face of the depression. It's a little like Huck and Jim when they're on the river. But things inevitably take a dark turn.
Lots of things I like are here. A good coming-of-age yarn, action and adventure, a love story of sorts, and a moving conclusion. Well worth looking for.