Saturday, October 21, 2006

Sin Killer by Larry McMurtry

The latest audio book. I liked it. The story was engaging, but not quite as moralistic as Boone’s Lick. It is a bit of an homage to Cooper, and there is more than a little Natty Bumpoo in Jim Snow, the Sin Killer, also known at the Raven Brave. He’s a frontiersman, a rover of the Great Plains in the 1820s, and gets tangled up with a steamboat full a vacationing English heading north up the Missouri. So tangled that he ends up married to one, Tasmin Berrybender, and has to rescue her and her family members from hostile Indians, frigid temperatures and their own foolishness. At one point Tasmin mentions that different people have different beliefs, and the Sin Killer slaps her, shouting at her that there is only one true God and that she better hush up about that theology crap. He’s their guide in more ways than one, much like the Pathfinder was, but it’s a role that’s not as fully developed as it could be.

The book is also a lot less romantic and a lot more vulgar than anything you’d read in Cooper. Fornication is a regular occurrence amongst English gentry and their hired help, women captured by Indians are beaten, raped and killed, and even the Sin Killer himself and his Berrybender bride regularly engage in “good long ruts.” Hey, Chingachgook. Cover Uncas’ eyes. He’s probably too young to being seeing this stuff.