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Reviewed by Tammy Ruggles for Readers' Favorite
Escape From Elysian Fields: An Old West Adventure by C. Forrest Lundin is an intriguing work of historical fiction set in the days of the old west. Set just after the Civil War, this story centers on two brothers on opposite sides, Izzy for the North and Buster for the South. There is also a woman in the mix: a pretty, mixed-race slave named Lace. For the brothers, the war hasn't ended yet. Lace is hoping she'll see Izzy again, but Buster may show up ahead of him, and if he does, she'll have to go into hiding in the underground railroad, in a secret room. If Buster finds her, he could follow through with the threats he's made. Izzy is one day ahead of Buster, so really, this is a race to see which brother shows up first. Along the way comes tragic loss. Which brother will get to Lace first? And what will Buster do if he finds that Lace has fled with his brother Izzy?
This kind of western hearkens back to the classics: a straight, simple but powerful story full of conflict, interesting characters, suspense, and unexpected turns. Yes, there is some violence, but this is a western, after all. The racial slurs are unsettling, so trigger warnings apply. Lundin writes with an accomplished, eager hand, a natural storyteller that I imagine thrives on spinning western tales. The plot gallops along at a steady pace, the dialogue is gritty and fresh, and you'll learn a lot about daily life in the old west, including relations with the Cherokee Nation and slavery. In addition, you are treated to a sneak preview of another book by the author in the end. If you're a Louis L'Amour or Zane Gray fan, you will love Escape From Elysian Fields: An Old West Adventure by C. Forrest Lundin.