There’s a dark feel to this A Wind Of Knives right from the off. The opening offers a strong sense of the world being a tiny pinprick within huge universe, a pinprick where all human activity takes place.
Daniel’s been running a farm in Texas, with only the one ranch hand left as the remainder have either joined up to fight in the civil war or run away to avoid joining up. This hand is Steven Houpe and when we get to meet him, he’s hanging from a Juniper tree as a mutilated corpse. His crime? Sodomy. He’s a strange fruit, to be sure.
The book takes Daniel on his journey to find revenge. On the way he comes across outlaws and rangers, card games and killings, all of which give the story a strong sense of the spirit of the age.
The question as to why Daniel’s need to find revenge is so deep rooted was my main drive to turn the pages. There are also questions relating the involvement of the James brothers and why they have such strong reactions to Houpe’s death. All of these characters have very strong motives and are prepared to go an awfully long way to find satisfaction.
I really enjoyed this novella. The description is vivid, the sense of detail strong and it has many of the accoutrements that one might expect to find in a Western. The characters have real depth and their potential actions know no boundaries. Best of all for me is
Daniel’s view of the world, from an internal and external point of view.
When Ed Kurtz deals the cards, he certainly hands out a couple of aces.