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Simple, beautiful, raw story-telling with impeccable research, takes you right into the Wild West

Synopsis

The Law of Capture is the unforgettable story of the multiple lives of Edward Valentine. Soon after the Civil War, sixteen-year old Edward Valentine rides out from the family farm to seek adventure in Texas. He is little prepared for the lawlessness and savagery that will transform him from reckless young outlaw to seasoned lawman to hired assassin. Escaping from a Texas chain gang, Valentine flees to the Wyoming Territory, only to find himself in the middle of a violent range war. Forced to decide between following the law or living outside it, Valentine manages to do both. While serving as county sheriff, Valentine operates covertly as a hired assassin for the territory’s landed elite. Told from the first-person perspective of several remarkable characters, this compelling debut novel is set against the casual violence and brutal landscapes of the West. The Law of Capture reveals the passions and animosities that churn just beneath the surface of the American soul.

As soon as I began to read this book, I was captured by the simple elegance of Totten's prose. The book interweaves the stories of a number of characters, but mainly follows Edward Valentine, a somewhat amoral but efficient bounty hunter of sorts. You get a real flavour of what it must have been like, out on the frontiers of the US in the last part of the nineteenth century - violent, corrupt, but in a way simpler than it ever has been since. You wanted a man dead, you went out and shot him. End of story.


The decline of the Indian peoples was portrayed without much overt emotion but with a deep sense of loss and sadness. Totten appears to have done his research - I'm no expert on the Wild West but the characters' experiences and environment certainly came across, even in the fine details, as very true to the time. I enjoyed Totten's portrayals of frontier women, particularly the ladies from 'sporting houses' who were evidently pretty independent - almost feminist - in their attitudes.


The almost deadpan way that the characters relate their histories really enhanced the appeal of the book, for me - nothing was wasted in dramatics or sermonising or irrelevance. Everything was there because it had to be there. In sum - an excellent writer, and I'd love to read more of his work.

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I'm an author but I also read a lot. I do especially like to read books by high quality indie authors, because you often get original and unconventional work which wouldn't have been picked up by the major publishers.

Synopsis

The Law of Capture is the unforgettable story of the multiple lives of Edward Valentine. Soon after the Civil War, sixteen-year old Edward Valentine rides out from the family farm to seek adventure in Texas. He is little prepared for the lawlessness and savagery that will transform him from reckless young outlaw to seasoned lawman to hired assassin. Escaping from a Texas chain gang, Valentine flees to the Wyoming Territory, only to find himself in the middle of a violent range war. Forced to decide between following the law or living outside it, Valentine manages to do both. While serving as county sheriff, Valentine operates covertly as a hired assassin for the territory’s landed elite. Told from the first-person perspective of several remarkable characters, this compelling debut novel is set against the casual violence and brutal landscapes of the West. The Law of Capture reveals the passions and animosities that churn just beneath the surface of the American soul.

The Law of Capture



Book 1

1869 - 1875


Chapter 1



Edward Valentine

My life has been a long string of false moves, one after the other, until fortune blessed one of my failures. There were no guiding principles in my life. I advanced through my years on the strength of my own reckless manhood. Things happened, good, bad or neither and I reacted to them accordingly. I have managed to stay alive as long as I have because I changed my opinions to fit the prevailing wisdom. Only an idiot would think he was certain about everything. And I tried not to think too much. If a situation required thought, I kept it simple and put little faith in the results. I began my life with one name and I will end my days with another. Was I two different men? Or more likely, two halves of the same person. Regardless of what name I traveled under, I will do my best to truthfully set down the momentous events from that distant time. But reader be warned, my memory is a rushing river and my pen is a thin channel of ink.

I was thrown into this world as Corky Vance. At the age of fourteen I left home to fight the tail end of the War Between the States. My father and older brothers fought on the side of the rebels. I joined the union army as a camp attendant to my uncle. The war, for many men, was the school that trained them as outlaws and bandits. After that savage conflict these rough men found it difficult to put down their guns as they had grown restless for the thrill of battle.

I returned from the war, a sixteen year old veteran, to find life on my father’s farm a little too quiet. With a horse and a few dollars in my pocket I rode out to see the new country. In Fort Smith, Arkansas I found work driving a wagon of lumber to the Indian Territory. Upon my return my boss refused to pay me. Perhaps my age persuaded him that I would not pursue payment. He was wrong. I clubbed him to the ground and took my wages. Unfortunately, he died a few days later.

I was arrested and indicted. The only defense I offered at my trial was the truth, which proved to be sufficient. I was acquitted. As I was leaving the courtroom after the trial the sheriff took me aside and told me the man’s brothers were not pleased with the verdict and suggested that I should seek a healthier climate.

I decided to ride for Texas.

About the author

I have been a professional writer for more than twenty years. During my career, I helped create advertising campaigns for some the tech industry’s most, well-known technology brands. Companies like Intel, Microsoft and Verizon. The Law of Capture is my first book. I live in Midway, Utah. view profile

Published on April 06, 2019

Published by

90000 words

Contains explicit content ⚠️

Genre: Historical fiction

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