#LSBBT The Sparrows of Montenegro by BJ Mayo

 

      

THE SPARROWS OF MONTENEGRO
by
BJ MAYO

Categories: Western / Historical Fiction / Texas
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Date of Publication: February 8, 2022
Number of Pages: 312 pages 

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Tree “Bigfoot” Smith and Cedar Jones first meet on the day they join the US Cavalry’s Fourth Cavalry Regiment based out of the Historic Fort Concho in what is now San Angelo, Texas, in 1870.

Their journey takes them into the heart of the dangerous Llano Estacado region known as the Comancheria. The area is ruthlessly defended by a band of Quahadi Comanche and their stoic leader, Lonely Horse. The Troop encounters a large group of Comanches and the gun-running Comancheros at Mushaway Mountain, close to Gail, Texas. A quick battle ensues that leaves eight men dead.

Post Cavalry life finds Tree Smith and Cedar Jones as cowhand and cook on the large Rolling J cattle ranch in South Texas bordering the Rio Grande River. The ranch employs two Vaqueros from the village of Montenegro in Mexico, just across the river, whom Tree befriends.

The quiet life on the Rolling J ranch is brought to an abrupt halt when a local sheriff warns that a band led by the cold-blooded, sadistic killer known as Gato Montes has been preying on the ranches along the Rio Grande. After the sheriff is nearly killed by these men, Tree is tasked with tracking them down, only this time, he is traveling alone and the dangers are greatly multiplied. His epic journey takes him back into the Llano Estacado where he is captured by Lonely Horse and taken to Mushaway Mountain where the Comanche carry out their own form of frontier justice.

Tree’s return journey puts him on the same path as Marco, a Mexican goat herder, who rides with him to the Mexican Village of Montenegro, where Tree meets Julia, who changes his life forever after he becomes involved in and bears witness to the wonderful celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“I could not put this one down. Mayo has masterfully written a character-driven page-turner, a compelling tale for the reader who seeks something more than the stereotypical western novel.” Ron Schwab, author of Goldsmith and the Law Wranglers series

"This mild-mannered west Texas rancher has woven a border tapestry using yarns made of unimaginable horror and sweet innocence." Tumbleweed Smith, author of Under the Chinaberry Tree

"A thoroughly enjoyable read—a cowboy's trail you'll want to follow, with a memorable cast of characters, renegades, soldiers, lawmen, and simple folks, and a hero that you'll want more of." John J. Jacobson, author of All the Cowboys Ain't Gone


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Thank you to the author and Lone Star Book Blog Tours for giving me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion. I wasn’t sure what to make of The Sparrows of Montenegro after reading the first chapter but am so glad I kept turning the page!

The Plot in Brief: Set on the Texas-Mexico border, this is a multi-layered story with a cast of cross-border characters whose lives become intertwined.

The Characters: The novel has a unique cast of quirky characters. From Tree Smith, a man of few words, to his sidekick, Cedar Jones and all the colorful people they encounter, the author serves up a magical cast. The protagonist is a devilish young man with a penchant for plunging a spike in his victim’s neck. As Tree pursues him, the vast Texas landscape becomes a character in its own right.    

The History: Great Texas history in the period following the Civil War. I enjoyed reading about the Comancheria, and life on a Texas border ranch. The depiction of the customs and celebrations of a small Mexican town, particularly Dia de los Muertos, is handled with a gentle, tender hand.

The Writing: Well written in a unique style, almost naïve, it has a steady pace that pulls you along. The descriptive writing is wonderful, the dialogue is perfect. You will fall in love with this magical story.

Overall: Loved it! What a great story.


 
LaRae Russell Photography 

BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola, West Africa.

 

He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.



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Autographed copies of The Sparrows of Montenegro.
(US only. Ends 2/19/22).
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Comments

  1. I really enjoy a book that takes us out of our familiar and sheds light on other people and ways of life -- the good, the bad, the ugly. Sounds like this book does just that, and that it was time well-spent between its pages. Thanks for the review!

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