A new docudrama will arrive in February from INSP, which is a new one on me. It seems to be very much a niche channel catering to Westerns. It’s not available on any platform I have, but I may go to some lengths to seek this out. Here’s the caper:
Early pioneers, scouts, hunters, and traders fulfill America’s destiny to expand Westward, exploring uncharted territory to blaze new trails. While dangers of deadly predators, starvation, bad weather, and unwelcoming Native Americans linger around every corner, the promise of land and opportunity push brave men like Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, and John Colter to keep going. Within the epic adventures and survival of the early settlers lies the origins of Western lore and the creation of legends that live on forever.
What gets my attention is that they’re talking about John Colter — and the glimpse we get of Jim Beckwourth shows a dead ringer. It’s intriguing enough for me to at least try to cut sign out there in the cyberwilds.
David Morrell, creator of Rambo, posted an excellent interview from Flashback Files. The interviewer knows his stuff, which makes for a great deal more depth than these things usually offer. Morrell is a thoughtful, highly intentional writer who understands that the thriller genre can offer much more than mere thrills. First Blood was and remains a remarkable book. He talks about the translation of his character from page to screen, and the differences between the book character and the iconic action hero he became. It’s kind of a long, strange trip.
I examined the character of Rambo in my college thesis on the frontier hero as archetype (it was built around the real-life exploits of Simon Kenton). I always felt bad about the way the character became a caricature, as Stallone swelled to bodybuilder proportions (and his signature knife became more fantastical) with each succeeding sequel. Let’s just say that I would have love to see the original script for Rambo III (the Afghanistan caper) realized, in place of the unwatchable thing that was actually produced.
Anyway, the interview is worth the time. I like it that Morrell gives props to Ulzana’s Raid. Anybody who digs that picture has his moccasins firmly planted on the path of righteousness.
Speaking of thrillers, one of our readers scouted up a heist yarn by the esteemed British military thriller writer, Max Hennessy (pen name for John Harris). I’ll have to replace my defunct Kindle device to get this one:
The Second Boer War is finally ending, and for three thieves there is the unexpected bonus of stealing an army payroll so large that they have to bury it outside a Free State town until the heat cools off.
While they wait for an opportunity to return to their stolen bounty, the entire might of the army gives chase, giving rise to a riotous set of events.
Based on a true story, John Harris’ adventure entertains and delights in a series of incredulous scenarios brought to glorious life against the backdrop of South Africa’s diamond mines.
Love this epigraph:
Truer words never spoken — with classic British understatement.
Then there’s this one:
South Africa, 1914. Diehard Boer generals led a new rebellion against the British-friendly governments of both Jan Smuts and Louis Botha.
General Christiaan De Wet’s attempt to join up with the Germans in South-West Africa failed, but the threat of the rebel forces was real to all of the men who lived through it.
This is a story which began with fervent patriotism and ended in more bloodshed than anyone ever meant to spill. This is the story of the Battle of Sheba.
These aren’t new books, just newly made available through Kindle. Which just goes to show that the
East India Company Amazon does have its merits. Damn their eyes…