Children of the Dust

Carlile, Clancy

Published by Ivy Books, 1995
ISBN 10: 0804114161 / ISBN 13: 9780804114165
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Synopsis: "ABSORBING...[A] FAST-MOVING PIECE OF FICTION."

--South Bend Tribune

On the day before his wedding, Gypsy Smith, a mixed-blood black-Cherokee gunfighter and lawman, is brutally attacked by the Ku Klux Klan, mutilated, and left for dead. Now he's out for blood.

Schoolteacher John Maxwell believes that Indians must disavow their heritage and conform to the ways of the white man in order to survive. Then his daughter, Rachel, falls in love with Corby, a Cheyenne boy--forcing Maxwell to confront his convictions in the shadow of their doomed passion.

Set during the Oklahoma land rush of the 1880s-- "the damnedest race in history"--CHILDREN OF THE DUST tells the interlocking stories of dispossessed Indians and newly freed blacks as never before. Bold, grand, and timelessly entertaining, this is a novel about an American past that we rarely explore and dare not forget.

"Gypsy Smith is the archetypal Clint Eastwood hero, except that his heritage is black and Cherokee....[Carlile] leads us down the unfamiliar back roads of his territory."

--The New York Times Book Review

"An authentic and historically accurate depiction of what was perhaps the most tumultuous and colorful period and place in the history of the Western frontier."

--Black Media News

From Booklist: TITLR Carlile, Clancy. Children of the Dust. Gypsy Smith is a half-black, half-Indian gunfighter, bounty hunter, and scout who reluctantly accepts a job leading poor black sharecroppers from the South to the border of new territory for the Oklahoma land rush. Among his charges is a young woman, Drusilla, with whom he fall in love. On the eve of his wedding, there's trouble with the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan lynches two young boys. When he tries to follow the trail, Gypsy is wounded, castrated, and left for dead. But Gypsy doesn't die, at least not in a literal sense. The old Gypsy is dead, the one who liked a joke, who was in live, and who found beauty in the hard land. All that remains is a searing, all-consuming need to avenge his mutilators. One by one, he extracts his revenge, leaving a trail of bodies in his wake. The local law, spurred on by Klansmen, begins a massive manhunt for Smith. The conclusion is as inevitable as the plot is predictable, with Smith meeting his end as an avenging angel to some and as a devil to others. There are sub-plots and parallel story lines, but none of note. This is serviceable western fare lent import due to the four-hour CBS miniseries that will air as the book is released. On that basis most libraries will experience demand, but don't get carried away. It's not special. Genre veterans Cameron Judd and Elmer Kelton produce better work regularly.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Children of the Dust
Publisher: Ivy Books
Publication Date: 1995
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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Carlile, Clancy
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