Monday, March 4, 2013

The Rainbow Trail - by Zane Grey

US/UK Kindle Classic
The Rainbow Trail (US Edition)  (£0.77 UK Edition)  is American author Zane Grey's sequel to his very successful  Western novel, Riders of the Purple Sage.   Both books have a plot involving Mormons - a religion in the news recently because the Republican presidential candidate in the last election was a Mormon.  The books must be read in light of prejudices and practices of the time.

This is from the forward by the author:

The spell of the desert comes back to me, as it always will come. I see the veils, like purple smoke, in the cañon, and I feel the silence. And it seems that again I must try to pierce both and to get at the strange wild life of the last American wilderness— wild still, almost, as it ever was. While this romance is an independent story, yet readers of "Riders of the Purple Sage" will find in it an answer to a question often asked.

And from the story . . .

"I was stolen from my mother's hogan and taken to California. They kept me ten years in a mission at San Bernardino and four years in a school. They said my color and my hair were all that was left of the Indian in me. But they could not see my heart. They took fourteen years of my life. They wanted to make me a missionary among my own people. But the white man's ways and his life and his God are not the Indian's. They never can be." . . .

That night Shefford lay in his blankets out under the open sky and the stars. The earth had never meant much to him, and now it was a bed. He had preached of the heavens, but until now had never studied them. An Indian slept beside him. And not until the gray of morning had blotted out the starlight did Shefford close his eyes.

It is an interesting story, but here is where Grey's heart is, in the description:

 It was a valley, a cañon floor, so long that he could not see the end, and perhaps a quarter of a mile wide. The air was hot, still, and sweetly odorous of unfamiliar flowers. Piñon and cedar trees surrounded the little log and stone houses, and along the walls of the cañon stood sharp-pointed, dark-green spruce-trees. These walls were singular of shape and color. They were not imposing in height, but they waved like the long, undulating swell of a sea. Every foot of surface was perfectly smooth, and the long curved lines of darker tinge that streaked the red followed the rounded line of the slope at the top. Far above, yet overhanging, were great yellow crags and peaks, and between these, still higher, showed the pine-fringed slope of Navajo Mountain with snow in the sheltered places, and glistening streams, like silver threads, running down.

He may be the most celebrated writer of "Westerns," but I think he was a painter at heart.

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