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Avenging Victorio

by Dave DeWitt

      After being chased out of Texas again, Victorio's luck has run out. The Apache chief and his band are cornered by the Mexican Colonel Terrazas and his soldiers. Ninety-three of the Apaches, including twenty-two women and children, are killed and sixty-three women and children taken captive.

Outraged by this massacre, the seventy-four year old Apache, Nana, is bent on revenge against the "white eyes." He gathers together a rag-tag band of guerillas to challenge the U. S. Army's Ninth Cavalry in New Mexico. It is clear to the U. S. government that the only solution is to capture or kill the elusive renegades, but these Apaches are as hard to capture as a wisp of smoke as they carry out raids against everyone in their path and manage to evade the Army.

This exciting novel is based on well researched historical fact, and includes characters from the history books. Lew Wallace, the territorial governor and acclaimed author of Ben Hur, is friends with Colonel Edward T. Hatch, who is in turmoil from the badgering of his superior officers, the press, politics, and now the Apaches. Billy the Kid is terrorizing the southern part of the territory, and other characters and their conflicts add to the hullabaloo. Dave DeWitt tells us how the Apaches changed forever when they were shuffled to reservations and of their resistance to losing their way of life. I especially enjoyed the details describing the traditions and customs of the Apache Indians, and their rituals as they venerate their gods.

DeWitt has a flair for writing about history and the photographs add to the realism of the characters. He heats up the action and puts your interest level in high gear. This powerful and absorbing story of the Apache rebellion in New Mexico in 1881 had me cheering for both sides of the conflict, since the Apaches and the Army are given equal voice in this unique novel that is one of the best I've read this year. New Mexico lore really comes alive, and the legend of Victorio's gold leaves you to ponder the real mystery of the treasure that may still be out there.

The Book

Rio Grande Books, an imprint of LPD Press
September 15, 2007
Hardcover (reviewed from pre-release proof)
1-890689-26-2 / 978-1-890689-26-1
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2007
© 2007