Tom Named By Horse by Dutch Henry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Dutch Henry delivers another well-told story set in the Old West this time as opposed to the current West of WE'LL HAVE THE SUMMER. Filled with fully developed characters, beautiful descriptions of the landscape and clashes between cultures, TOM NAMED BY HORSE is well worth reading.
Henry brings us a main character who has no name. Orphaned at birth, he is traded from buffalo hunter to buffalo hunter and called nothing but "boy." After years of abuse, Boy kills his tormenter and takes his horse. Shortly after he is free, Boy happens upon another buffalo hunter surrounded by a group of young Sioux braves. The hunter fells two of the young men. Boy shoots the hunter and rescues the injured braves. He takes them to their village for treatment. His act of kindness earns the respect of the Sioux chief whose son he's rescued.
When asked what his name is, Boy says it's Tom, which is the name of his tall gray horse. He feels safe in the village where he not only becomes friends with the chief's family but also with a half-white young woman to whom he is attracted.
Against a backdrop of encroaching settlers and cavalry that want to take the land from the Native Americans, Tom finds himself torn between wanting to help his new friends and protect the settlers from renegades. The story unwinds at a leisurely pace with high-tension action scenes interspersed with quiet interludes.
If there was anything I would change about this book it would be to have a better editor. I don't think Henry used the same editor he did for WE'LL HAVE THE SUMMER. While the ending seems rushed, the story sets itself up for a sequel.
Anyone who likes romance set in the Old West will surely want to read this book.