The Feudist

A Novel of the Pleasant Valley War

Fiction - Western
256 Pages
Reviewed on 06/25/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lesley Jones for Readers' Favorite

The Feudist by Daniel Herman is an action-packed western loosely based on Arizona’s 1880s Pleasant Valley War. When Ben Holcomb receives yet another verbal onslaught from his father, he decides to leave home and find a place where he is welcome. Ben arrives in Globe City just as a rustling feud involving the Tewksburys and the Grahams has erupted. He gains employment with George Heard, a kindly and caring store owner who tries to steer Ben on the right path. Just as Ben is settling into daily life in Globe City, he is offered the chance of adventure. Suddenly, Ben finds himself trapped in a ruthless world where violence, lynchings, and fierce battles are a daily occurrence. He also discovers the pain of heartbreak and losing what you hold most dear to your heart. Will Ben ever escape the conflict he had no desire to be a part of, and find the peace, happiness, and stability he deserves?

The Feudist by Daniel Herman is an exciting and breathtaking western that grabs your attention from the first page. The narrative is descriptive which sparks every one of your senses. The characters have been created with the utmost care and consideration with fantastically detailed backstories. The authentic dialogue reflects not only the views and values of each personality but also life in 19th-century Arizona. I loved the character of Ben Holcomb; he stood up for what he believed in and had good morals overall although he had a tendency to be easily led. His relationship with Heard was endearing and brought much-needed stability to Ben’s life. He was a true father figure to Ben. His advice to Ben before he left was superb: “Men are feuding out there. Stay out of it. What they desperately need is a peace treaty, but they’re too hot to negotiate.” Although the story is loosely based on historic events, I feel the plot really highlights both the positive and negative aspects of humanity, from love, romance and tenderness to greed, pride and egotistical behaviour. There is continuous action, and the layers of interest in the storyline and the development of the relationships between the characters were definitely one of the novel’s strengths. A highly compelling read.