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Cross Plains Public Library (TX)

"Moon Medicine" by Mike Blakely

Product Details

Mike Blakely has done it again. His book MOON MEDICINE was published by Tor Forge in 2001 and I have had it for over a year. I finally opened it and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. Blakely likes to write about American history by creating a character that has lived it. This book is the first of a planned trilogy focusing on the history of Adobe Walls, a rich history of Texas, the Llano Estacado and Palo Duro Canyon country. 

To tell his story Blakely has created a genius born in France who is small and ugly and has to fight his way using his brilliant mind as a weapon. The moon is important because the hero’s body lives by a lunar rather than solar cycle. During full moons he can’t sleep and during the dark of the moon he sleeps for days. But he is a genius and learns so rapidly that he is bored by school and that gets him into a lot of trouble. The book is told in the first person and I can hear it as an audio book. The hero is sent to boarding school in Paris where he learns to play the violin, sword fighting and mathematics. He is seduced by a maid at the school and defends her honor by killing the fencing instructor who raped her, steals a Stradivarius violin from his music teacher and escapes on an English sailing vessel as a stowaway to come to America. He was attracted to the U.S. by seeing a Catlin painting of a Comanche warrior that burned into his psyche and knew that his destiny was the wild west. 

Landing at New Orleans, he jumps ship and works his way up the Mississippi to St. Louis where he hires out to the Bent St. Vrain traders. They have built Fort Bent and are trading with the Indians. He travels with their supply train to Ft. Bent and on to Taos, where he falls in love with a Mexican woman betrothed to another. Like many on the frontier, he changes his name because he is afraid the French authorities are looking to arrest him and return him to face murder charges. On the ocean voyage he devoured a book on magic and practices sleight of hand tricks which continually gets him out of trouble. One trick he read about was how to appear to catch a pistol ball in his hand or teeth. He later uses this trick to save himself from the Comanches. He is determined to develop trade with them when all others say it is impossible. He builds Fort Adobe and accomplishes his goal through a bunch of hair raising episodes. 

Blakely gives you a history lesson about the west interacting with the major characters of history; Charles and William Bent, Ceran St. Vrain, Jim Bridger, Joe Meek, Lucas Murray, Lucien Maxwell, Peg Leg Smith, Broken hand Thomas Fitzpatrick, Dick Wooten and the most famous, Kit Carson. Blakely commented at the Cowboy Symposium that his next book in the trilogy focuses primarily on Carson. It is about finished and I am looking forward to reading it. Blakely also loves to write about horses. They dominate the Comanche culture and the hero has a one-eyed gelding that saves his life several times. 
MOON MEDICINE is a powerful story of a fascinating genius that will capture your imagination in a way that will make you appreciate the lunar cycles in a whole new way.

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