I try not to draw comparisons too often when reviewing - except when, to me, it is a favorable comparison. The Black Hills reminds me of one of my favorite books to re-read: Louis L'Amour's The Walking Drum. Ironically (or maybe not) enough, The Walking Drum was one of Mr. L'Amour's few non-Western titles (it was set in Medieval Europe and the Near East).
Now, why does one evoke the other for me? Primarily because of the way the characters are written. Mr. Thompson's Cormac Lynch and Mr. L'Amour's Mathurin Kerbouchard are, in their own ways, at once larger than life and average men shaped by their separate circumstances. Both do what must be done, even if it may not be entirely what they may have wanted to do, but did it anyway because it was the right thing to do. Another is the, for me, strong female characters - from Mr. Thompson's Lainey Nayle to the only daughter of a rather well-off rancher and mine owner to Mr. L'Amour's Aziza and Safia. Finally, both authors paint the landscapes through which their characters make their way through vividly - from the emotions that the characters feel, to the reasons that drive them onward, to the actual geography.
Both are very distinct authors and each should be taken into account for what they write, but both books symbolize for me why I adore reading.
Cormac Lynch was just a young boy when tragedy struck. Now, to avenge his family's murder, he must become a gunslinger.
Out of a family tragedy in the Dakota Territory grows a man with a reputation for a blazing fast draw. There are those who would ride a hundred miles to watch him shoot it out against the mysterious gunslinger known as Mackle.
Instead, both of them ride to the rescue of Lainey Nayle, whose ranch-and body-are in danger of being taken by force. Now Burnell Lamber and his infamous gang are about to put both reputations to the test.