Power in the Blood

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9780060179694: Power in the Blood

Set in the old West, this novel of a family's fortunes and misfortunes following the Civil War follows two brothers and their sister from New York to Colorado aboard the ""orphan train."" 30,000 first printing. $40,000 ad/promo. Tour.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

A family epic set in the Wild West during the decades following the Civil War, with a telekinetic twist--the latest from Western specialist Matthews (One True Thing, 1989, etc.) is big, bloody, and breezy, but runs out of gas by the end. Three orphaned Dugans--two brothers and a sister--are sent from New York to the Midwest and adopted by different families, in spite of their wish to remain together. They vow to reunite quickly, but circumstances conspire against them. Clay, the eldest, finds a good home as the son of an educated farmer; but when the man is murdered by the brother of his hired hand, Clay becomes a killer himself in revenge, receiving a terrible wound through his cheeks in the process. Brother Drew fares little better, as his adopted father hears voices that tell him to take his family to the desert, where his mother dies of thirst and he barely escapes playing Isaac to his raving dad's Abraham. Meanwhile, sister Zoe is raped by her new father, gives birth to a girl with a vivid blue mark covering half her face, and is turned out to fend for herself and her child. And that's only the beginning. Clay turns into a humorless lawman and bounty hunter, Drew into a bank and train robber, and Zoe becomes the wife of the richest man in the West, having found herself a fantastic vein of gold high in the Colorado Rockies with the help of daughter Omie's unerring second sight. After much bloodshed and unhappiness, the three cross paths again, joining forces to deny Zoe's faithless, murdering husband his grandest conceit: a massive elk made entirely of her gold. Unfortunately, death isn't far behind them, and the Dugans are quickly eliminated after dumping the elk into a chasm. Redolent with frontier flavors, but the violence and menace, and even the supernatural effects, ultimately prove more gratuitous than gripping. -- Copyright 1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Matthews here confirms the storytelling gifts and knowledge of the bad, lawless Old West that he demonstrated in Heart of the Country . This is a spellbinding, tragicomic, rip-snorting and deeply moving novel about three sibling orphans who are wrenchingly separated in 1869 and are accidentally, joyfully--but briefly--reunited 16 years later in Colorado. The trio--Clay, Zoe and Drew Dugan--board a westward-bound "orphan train" in upstate New York and disembark to meet foster parents in three different states. Clay later kills the farmhands who murder his kind foster parents and becomes a sheriff, then a bounty hunter. Zoe, brutally raped by her foster father, a strict farmer, gives birth to Omie, born with a strange blue birthmark across her face. Omie's paranormal powers--she can foresee events, read minds, teleport objects and converse with spirits--will protect Zoe in her loveless marriage to Colorado mining magnate Leo Brannan, a politically ambitious monster who ditches Zoe for a gold-digging prostitute and who hires a transvestite assassin to deprive Zoe of her share of their fortune. Drew runs away from his foster father, a religious fanatic, is rescued by Apaches, and becomes a whorehouse attendant, then a bank robber. The siblings' reunion leads to a bizarre train robbery, part of Zoe's revenge on Leo. Despite too many improbable coincidences and recurring episodes of lurid melodrama, this gripping story provides compelling commentary on blind ambition, murder, sex, euthanasia, true grit, the vagaries of fate and the self-destructiveness at the heart of America.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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