Thursday, January 18, 2018

Palo Duro ~ ~ Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway!

  Genre: Historical Fiction / Western
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 2, 2017
Number of Pages: 226
Scroll down for the giveaway!

Westward expansion following the civil war ushered in an era of increased conflict between the Southern Plains Indians and white settlers. Peace treaties offered temporary suspension of hostilities, but more often than not resulted in broken promises as the two cultures clashed over land. The construction of frontier forts and towns, the decimation of the buffalo herds, the movement of cattle through Indian lands to burgeoning western markets, – all of these forces threatened a way of life that had existed for centuries.

The Comanche, the Southern Cheyenne, the Kiowa, the Apache all fought to protect their customs and homelands. The clashes were characterized by savagery on both sides - Indian and white. However, finite numbers and options would ensure the tribes’ defeat; they faced certain death or forced relocation and their days were numbered.

Though the Indian wars are the focus of Palo Duro, the novel also captures the spirit of the “Old West” with its depiction of the great cattle drives from Texas into Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana, the cattle barons and the trail blazers, the outlaws and gunslingers, the lawmen and Texas Rangers, and the settlers and entrepreneurs who built this country. It chronicles an era characterized by heroism, brutality, and bold ventures while paying tribute to a genre that is fading from public consciousness – the western. It is the story of the Southwest United States towards the end of the nineteenth century and the rugged individualism that forged a nation.
This book captured Central Texas in the post-Civil War era better than any other book I’ve read. It was well researched, well written, and easy to read. I enjoyed this book more than Empire of the Summer Moon, the standard setter. I recommend this to readers of any level, even if you dislike history, as this book is that good. 
– Jeffrey R. Murray, Amazon review

Max Knight brought to life the saga of how Texas tamed their frontier. He presents a colorful experience with characters effectively placed throughout his story. If you have any interest in Texas history this book is a must read. – AmazonJacki, Amazon review

Palo Duro is an exceptional novel, well researched; a must read. 
– Chuck B., Amazon review

Reading this book is a great way to deepen and appreciate one’s Texas roots – or if you are not a Texan to understand and enjoy what makes Texas, well, Texas! I found this novel to be especially entertaining as well as informative. Made me want to go back and read Lonesome Dove again! – Michael P., Amazon review

In the spirit of the old Western genre of Zane Grey and L’amour, Max Knight pays homage to our national heritage with this fictional but historically accurate labor of love that warms the heart with his vivid imagery and authentic tone of America’s illustrious and sometimes brutal past. – Chester Sosinski, Amazon review


HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪ In Palo Duro, readers are given thirteen sub-books, each focusing on a historical event or person(s), as related to the Southwest of the 1800s.  The events and people tend to weave in and out of the bigger novel because they are all connected in some form or fashion. While initially, some of the stories seem to be irrelevant (but highly entertaining and immensely interesting), author Max Knight makes sure readers know that nothing is randomly placed in Palo Duro.

“In the Wild West…it was almost impossible to differentiate between criminal activities, personal grudges, enforcement of the law, or actions taken it its name.”

Regardless of whether a sub-book or chapter focuses on a military, Native American, law enforcement, or renegade exploit, what strikes me is how the lines between the good guys and the bad guys are blurred and wiggly. Truly, they aren’t defined at all; Knight does a great job of presenting information in an unbiased manner.  Much of the book makes me question even more deeply the validity of the lessons I learned as a schoolgirl. Additionally, the barbaric ways in which people of all races and nationalities behave in Palo Duro, and the beliefs they stand behind to justify their actions, ring a sickening bell of familiarity in today’s world. Be warned: the Wild West and Great Plains Wars were brutal times and nothing’s sugar coated in Knight’s depictions.

“Not a Ranger under McNelly’s command batted an eye. Summary executions and torture were common practices for them.”

As the author acknowledges in the book, Palo Duro is a combination of fact and fiction. Two of my favorite characters – both so richly written and fleshed-out -- are sadly the latter, which is attestation to Max Knight’s creativity and talent as a writer. His storytelling ability is outstanding, as is illustrated in the dialogue created to move the stories forward and bring the settings and people to life.  I wish I better knew my history to know what is fact or fiction, so I am now inspired to do a little research on my own.

Structurally, Palo Duro is perfect for reluctant readers (but not those sensitive to violence) and anyone looking for bang for the buck. The sub-books and chapters are short, there are breaks and white pages, and it’s organized to include a helpful map, epilogue, and a wonderful “Afterwards” that tells exactly that – what happened to many of the key players and personalities after their mentions in the book. The acknowledgments and thanks sections are worth reading as well, as each gives the reader just a little more information to round out the book.

The only criticism I have of the book is that it needs serious proofreading to remove the numerous (to me) SPAG errors that distracted me from reading. Granted, I don’t imagine there are many who are distracted by a misused semi-colon or quotation marks, but anyone who reads my reviews knows it’s my curse/blessing. Despite the errors, I recommend the book to both history buffs and those, like me, who only have a rough idea of the wild west days and the displacement of the Native Americans. Palo Duro is your huckleberry.

Side Note: This is not a shameless plug for Lone Star Book Blog Tours, but... I find it so interesting that there are so many crossovers between so many of the books we’ve toured with LSBBT – Melissa Lenhardt’s Sawbones trilogy, Preston Lewis’s Bluster’s Last Stand and (upcoming tour) The Fleecing of Fort Griffin, Finding the Great Western Trail by Susan Gann Mahoney, and Yonderings by Ben English are a few that come to mind. All these stories, including Palo Duro, underscore the rich history, larger-than-life personalities, and vast landscape of Texas. AND they underscore the fabulously talented pool of Texas authors writing these books.

Thank you to the author for providing me a beautiful print copy (LOVE this cover) and for sharing his story with me in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give. 

Max L. Knight was born in Panama in 1949, and was raised both in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas where he now resides with his wife, Janet "Gray." A proud member of the Corps of Cadets and graduate of Texas A&M University (Class of '73), he received a bachelor’s degree in English and a Regular Army commission and served the next twenty-four years as an Air Defense and Foreign Area Officer before retiring in 1997 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, Max spent the next five years working for RCI Technologies of San Antonio, becoming its Director of Internal Operations. Separating from the company in 2002, he volunteered to be the first docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department before once again serving his country as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East through 2013. Max speaks several languages including Greek and Spanish. He also holds a Master of Science degree in government from Campbell University. He has written and published two books to date: Silver Taps, a personal memoir of his relationship with his father and a tribute to his alma mater, and Palo Duro, a novel focusing on the Indian wars in the southwestern United States at the end of the nineteenth century.
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One Winner: Signed copy of Palo Duro + $20 Amazon Gift Card
Two Winners: Signed Copies of Palo Duro
JANUARY 10-19, 2018
(U.S. Only)
Character Interview
Favorites, Part 1
Guest Post
Favorites, Part 2
Author Interview
Scrapbook Page

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