wally's Reviews > In the Rogue Blood

In the Rogue Blood by James Carlos Blake
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's review
Jun 26, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: blake
Read from June 28 to July 01, 2012

this here will be the 1st from blake for me...i believe i saw it listed on a page of something i read, something i wanted to read, something...so i looked at it...acquired it...a used paperback.

there's several quotes to begin:

why does your sword so drip with blood,
edward, edward?
why does your sword so drip with blood,
and why so sad go ye, o?

--from an anonymous scottish ballad of the middle ages.

i stood upon a high place,
and saw, below, many devils
running, leaping,
and carousing in sin.
one looked up, grinning,
and said, "comrade! brother!"

--stephen crane

the essential american character is hard, isolate, stoic, and a killer.
--d.h. lawrence

lo que no tiene remedio se tiene que aguantar.
--an old mexican dicho

story looks to be divided into vii sections.
subtitled: the family, the brothers, john, edward, john, edward, the brothers.

the family
in the summer of 1845 edward little was sixteen years old and restless in his blood. he knelt beside a tree stump next to the stable and carved intently upon it in the first gray light of day. he had often sat on this stump and watched the sun lower into the trees and wondered how great the distance from where he sat to where the day was still high noon. his family fled to this blackwater wildland just east of the perdido and nearly two day's ride north of pensacola in the fall of '42 when daddyjack hied them out of the georgia uplands following a barndance fracas that left a man dead and occasioned the local constable to initiate an inquiry.

yeah...okay then...onward and upward.

time & place
summer of 1845, georgia/florida, heads west, alabama, missippi...perdido river, cowdevil creek, july 1845, the tensaw, the mobile

daddyjack, also known as jack little, although his real name was likely haywood boggs
his children:
edward little, 16 years old
john little, 17 years old
margaret "maggie" little, 14-15 years old
mother is lilith, lily
tom rainey, a man jack little killed w/a knife
mother of lilith, a suicide after tragedy left her mad
klasson brothers hunting haywood boggs...end up dead
gaines the childless methodtist minister reverend and his sallow dispirited wife
various minor characters...a tinker, a grocer and his wife, a camp foreman, a dark-suited man in white muttonshops,a goateed man wearing a checkered vest, a pair of women scooping mussels, a downriver swamp rat named douglas scratchley, a brass band, an appreciative crowd, a garrulous greybeard with a pegleg, the stableman w/a white bulldog, two men in black slickers, harlan--the name of one of the stableman's friends, a family camped...the man a farmer named campbell, douglas campbell...sarah jean charles who refused to take a turn with campbell, a labor gang, nathaniel hurley's where a barndance is held, a redbeard called o'hara, jeannie walsh a girl at the dance
daddyjack's kentucky flilntlock named roselips
foots, the name of one of the mules...not the remus mule, the other'n
"joan armstrong" the alias that lilith uses to sell the mule to the stableman for $20
janey, the name that edward gave the sorrel mare, won in a coin flip
more minor characters: propreitress mrs. clark local cathouse...her widowed sister, mrs. flora bannion in nacogdoches, texas...a man baptized, pilgrim families, a preacher in farmer's clothes
the whores: jolene, sue ellen, rose mary, cora, marcie, belinda

finished, 2:29 p.m. e.s.t. 1 jul 12, sunday afternoon.

good read. the above character list is not complete...that list would fill several pages as there are new characters throughout the telling.

there is a lot of blood in this one...genital amputations--abound--violence..."here where blood was both common instument of commerce and venerated tool of art."

blake makes use of dream...much dream...

there's a time when i wondered if he's read stephen king...if stephen king read him...a time when a character feels like his head if full of broken glass. john coffee he of the green mile and ....the man...was it andy, or is that his daughter? in firestarter...both make use of that expression...and shortly thereafter, carrion birds (the crow/raven in king) fed "with sounds like sloppy chuckling" that brings to mind pennywise and the other strange chuckling sounds in king's stories...like the hyenas in scott's story in lisey's story...."this isn't the library, scott..." and the hyenas cackle...

as if that isn't enough...tip-of-the-hat maybe...this one crew of bandits number nineteen...king readers understand.

the story moves from the u.s.a. florida georgia, across the south into texas into mexico. if there be a mounted horseman that signifies the three little children, there's be two mounted horseman w/their mount, both hooves in the air...and the third would have...possibly but one hoof raised in homage. the tragedy that is life.

there is more than a smidgen of spanish herein...some of it i understand...some of it no mas...

oh yeah...the story extends itself over a couple years....i believe by story end we are into 1847.


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