Although Zane Grey wasn’t born in the west, he was one of the first authors to make it come alive for readers, beginning with Riders of the Purple Sage. Though panned by critics in his day for his overly vivid, often violent portrayals of the American West and its people, he was immensely popular with readers. His works still stand the test of time, and the way he tied the characters into the land, and the land into the story still serve as models for writers of many genres.
His Wanderer of the Wasteland, the story of a young man who, after killing his brother, flees to the desert to atone, and how he becomes one with the land, is quintessential Grey. Adam Larey was betrayed by his older brother, Guerd, a gambler and wastrel, so he ran away to a mining town. Guerd, in the company of a vicious and unscrupulous sheriff, tracked him down, and in a confrontation, Adam shot his brother and assaulted the sheriff. He then ran away to the desert, feeling that he must atone for the worst mortal sin, fratricide.
In the years that follow, Adam grows into a man, and becomes one with the desert. The land, in all its magnificence and malevolence, changes him, and he in turn changes everyone with whom he comes into contact.
In this story, the land is as much a part of the story as the characters, shaping their moods and actions, and often serving as the arbiter of their fate.
A classic western that will delight fans of the genre. This book was reissued in e-book format. I received a free copy.
I give this one four stars.