Sunday, February 27, 2011
What I Read #20
Shavetail by Thomas Cobb: A shavetail by definition is a young mule that hasn't yet been trained to haul heavy loads .
Private Ned Thorne is considered a "shavetail" in this dramatic post Civil War novel. He is only seventeen, but has things happen in his past that made him leave Connecticut and join the US Army. Ned is transferred to the outer reaches of the Arizona Territory. Once there, he is faced with becoming a man in a hurry. Obediah Brickner, a muleskinner with the army, is the perfect antagonist. His taunts toward Ned can either make Ned a stronger soldier or break his spirit.
Set in the desolate, but beautiful desert country of the Southwest, this novel is not like your typical western. Cobb has a way with words that paints mental pictures for the reader. His prose style is intellectual, yet easy to read. He has written one other novel, Crazy Heart. If Shavetail is an example of Cobb's talent, he should be writing more.