Some things are true serendipity, others are more deliberately linked. I’m going with the latter in the case at hand. You see, I’m nearing completion of the sequel to Karl Thorson and the Jade Dagger, and the climax occurs at The Alamo. At about the time I commenced writing that chapter I needed to download a new audio book. Searching for this and that I came across a book I’d heard of before, but hadn’t read, by one of my favorite writers: The Alamo, by John Myers Myers.
In this blog I’ve touched on Myers a time or two, the author of the masterpiece Silverlock and its conceptually related follow up The Moon’s Fire-Eating Daughter. Some readers of this web log might be interested in one of his, sadly, lesser known works, The Harp and the Blade, one of those near-swords and sorcery historical novels usually shelved in the fantasy section, in the tradition of Talbot Mundy and Harold Lamb. Good stuff.
But Myers also wrote non-fiction, with a focus on the American West and South West. The Alamo is a well-researched history, carefully delving into the centuries of history laying the foundations for the climactic events at The Alamo, piecing together the political steps and missteps of the various countries, parties, adventurers and misadventurers that culminated in the famous last stand. However, being who he was, Myers couldn’t write a bland compilation of facts. He imbued The Alamo with the same verve, the same command of vernacular and wry phrasing that helps carry his fiction. There’s a brash, American positivism to the prose.
John Myers Myers seems to belong to the Great Man theory of history. He was incapable of viewing a historical subject as merely the common man, molded by events. In The Alamo, Myers writes of the primary participants as men in full, considering their historical context, yes, but also accepting that these men were legendary figures, and were so for a reason. You can almost feel his — if not precisely reverence, then at the least admiration for Bowie, Crockett, et al. Myers recognizes that any given anecdote is likely apocryphal, but you can tell he wants to believe it. And as a reader, he made me want to believe it as well.
So, I was pleased to immerse myself in The Alamo. It may not have been serendipity that I found this, that the library owned a copy, and that it was available for download. But I don’t care. It was nice to place memories of my recent visit to the Shrine of Texas Liberty into proper historical context while in the process of writing one my two-fisted, semi-autos and sorcery shoot ‘em ups.
While I’m on that subject, as of this writing, the digital edition of Karl Thorson and The Jade Dagger is still on sale from Amazon at $.99. Just saying.