Comanche Sundown is the story of the great war chief Quanah Parker, a freed slave and cowboy named Bose Ikard, and the women they love. In 1869 Quanah and Bose do their best to kill each other in a brutal fight on horseback in West Texas. But over several years, through the flash and chaos of war and killing they discover that they are friends, not enemies. They change from violent unformed youths into men of courage and decency.
The son of the ferocious warrior Nocona and the tragic captive Texan Cynthia Ann Parker, Quanah suffers the wound of being slurred and rejected by many Comanches as someone of impure blood and certain bad luck. When told he cannot marry his youthful love Weckeah, he rides off and joins another band of his people in the canyonlands and plains of the Texas Panhandle. Later, when Quanah has just emerged as a war chief in a daring rout of army cavalry, in defiance of elders and tradition he elopes with Weckeah and leads a following of the wildest Comanche bunch of all.
The enslaved son of a white physician, Bose is freed by the Civil War and rides on trail drives of longhorns into New Mexico Territory that are led by the pioneering Charles Goodnight. Bose winds up captured, utilized, and eventually valued by Quanah and his people. That period in young Bose’s life brings him into intoxicating friendship with Quanah’s other wife, To-ha-yea, a Mescalero Apache and born heart-breaker.
Comanche Sundown lays out a sprawling and plausible recast of Southwestern history that brings Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, Bat Masterson, Colonel Ranald “Bad Hand” Mackenzie, and General William T. Sherman into one fray. In the tradition of Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man, William Styron’s The Confessions of Nat Turner, Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove, and Cormac McCarthy’s All the Pretty Horses, Jan Reid’s novel offers a rich blend of historical detail, exquisite eye for the terrain and the animals, and insight into the culture, customs, poetry, and dignity of Native Americans caught up in a desperate fight to survive.
JAN REID is a veteran writer-at-large for Texas Monthly and has contributed dozens of articles to Esquire, GQ, Slate, Men’s Journal, Garden & Gun, the New York Times Magazine, and many other leading publications. His highly praised nonfiction books include The Improbable Rise of Redneck Rock, The Bullet Meant for Me, and Rio Grande. Reid’s first novel, Deerinwater, was published in 1985. Since then, he has devoted time between his many projects and some perilous adventures to the research and crafting of Comanche Sundown. Praised for the versatility of his writing, Reid has won honors that include a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, and awards by PEN and the Texas Institute of Letters. Born in Abilene, Texas, Reid grew up in Wichita Falls and for many years has made his home in Austin with his wife, Dorothy Browne.