All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone
by John J. Jacobson
Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
Date of Publication: February 23, 2021
Categories: Historical Fiction / Action Adventure / Western
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All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone is the rollicking adventure story of Lincoln Smith, a young Texan living at the beginning of the twentieth century, who thinks of himself as the last true cowboy. He longs for the days of the Old West, when men like his father, a famous Texas Ranger, lived by the chivalric code. Lincoln finds himself hopelessly out of time and place in the fast-changing United States of the new century. When he gets his heart broken by a sweetheart who doesn’t appreciate his anachronistic tendencies, he does what any sensible young romantic would do: he joins the French Foreign Legion. On his way to an ancient and exotic country at the edge of the Sahara, Lincoln encounters a number of curious characters and strange adventures, from a desert hermit who can slow up time to a battle with a crocodile cult that worships the god of death. He meets them all with his own charming brand of courage and resourcefulness.
This is an epic adventure story that some have compared to Indiana Jones, and the comparison is perfect. Lincoln is a bigger-than-life hero, and while he is not on the search for an ancient artifact, he’s searching for his place in the world. Like those sagas featuring the indomitable Indiana Jones, this one asks the reader to suspend their disbelief quite a bit and just go along for the ride.
If you can do that, you’ll enjoy this book a lot and travel the world with Lincoln and all the people he meets during his escapades.
We meet Lincoln as a boy when he’s shooting arrows at a locomotive because he hates those machines that are sucking the earth dry, and, for the first few chapters, I thought this was going to be a typical Western story. It is not. It has elements of what we like about a Western – horses and cattle and ranches and good guys and bad guys and a quest for retribution – but then it takes an abrupt turn some years later when Lincoln loses his job with the Wild West Show and decides to follow his inclination to join the French Foreign Legion. That’s when the real adventure starts.
Lincoln is a good guy, a character who always wears a white hat. There’s nothing dark about him at all, and at times I wondered if his almost childlike innocence would be his undoing. Luckily, it was not. It was fascinating to also know him as an educated and well-read gentleman, and I absolutely loved his exchange of Shakespeare quotes with the old man in the cave. Of all the people that Lincoln meets in his adventures around the world, I enjoyed that Muslim holy man, called a marabout, the most, and the description of him with his long white beard and brown robes made me realize I may have my own marabout hanging out on my deck.
The old wise man in the book, not the one on my deck, has much to teach Lincoln, including this line from Shakespeare, “Futility, futility, oh don’t you see it as futile! The direction of the arrow cannot be changed. It may be slowed, but not changed.” That quotation seems to describe the course that Lincoln had set for himself as he tries to find and follow the direction of his life.
If you’re ready to saddle up for a wild ride, I highly recommend this fast-paced story with adventures of epic proportions.
Though John J. Jacobson didn’t join the French Foreign Legion after being jilted by a girlfriend, or over his displeasure of missing the last great cattle drive, he has, borrowing Churchill’s phrase, lived a rather variegated life. He was born in Nevada, grew up in the West, surfed big waves in Hawaii, circled the world thrice, survived the sixties and seventies, corporate America, and grad school. Among other degrees he has an MA in Renaissance literature from Claremont Graduate University.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
FIVE WINNERS each receive a print copy of All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone
(US Only. Ends midnight, CDT, March 19, 2021.)
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