Tom Kepler's Reviews > The Mysterious Rider

The Mysterious Rider by Zane Grey
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Oct 23, 11

bookshelves: western
Read in September, 2011

The Mysterious Rider is a more complex novel about redemption. Still a western romance, the plot centers around a young woman, an orphan named Columbine, who is entrapped by her allegiances into considering marriage to the drunkard son of her adopted father.

"Hell Bent Wade" is the mysterious rider, a man with a veiled past who has spent his life helping others--usually with the business end of his pistol, to the detriment of the evil-doers.

The novel is more complex in its conflicts, though, than many of Grey's romances. Rancher Bill Belllounds is a good man who is blinded by his love for his son. Hell Bent Wade is a good man who has done bad things. Columbine is a good young woman who is conflicted between her needs and the needs of her adoptive father. Jack Belllounds is the weak son who is hot and cold on morality. The love interest, Wilson Moore, loves as only a cowboy can--silently worshipping the rancher's daughter.

If I didn't have faith that Zane Grey would work everything out in the end, I'd fear that the realists or naturalists would prevail and everything would go to hell in the end--death, grief and suffering, and waste of life. However, Grey believes in the hero, and in the end like Beowulf meeting Grendel, the warrior comes to the aid of the people.

A Note About Zane Grey:

Zane Grey wrote his stories for the people who bought them. White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants, preferably male, are the protagonists. Woman are bosom-clutching individuals, more emotionally fragile than men--strong but only in their own female way. Racial and ethnic minorities are of lesser stature than the WASP main characters. Grey's romanticized vision of the wild west, unfortunately, did not include the visionary equality of gender, race, or cultural diversity. He was a man of his times--and those times had their issues.

I have written earlier of Zane Grey that I have a love/hate relationship with his writing. I choose to accept, understand, and forgive--something he and many of his time were not able to do.

At Project Gutenberg, this novel is available as a free ebook: The Mysterious Stranger .
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