THE SPARROWS OF MONTENEGRO

by
BJ MAYO
Categories: Western / Historical Fiction / Texas
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
Date of Publication: February 8, 2022
Number of Pages: 312 pages 
Scroll down for Giveaway!
Tree “Bigfoot” Smith and Cedar Jones first meet on the day they join the US Cavalry’s Fourth Cavalry Regiment based out of the Historic Fort Concho in what is now San Angelo,
Texas, in 1870.


Their journey takes them into the heart of the dangerous Llano Estacado region known as the Comancheria. The area is ruthlessly defended by a band of Quahadi Comanche and their stoic leader, Lonely Horse. The Troop encounters a large group of Comanches and the gun-running Comancheros at Mushaway Mountain, close to Gail, Texas. A quick battle ensues that leaves eight men dead.


Post Cavalry life finds Tree Smith and Cedar Jones as cowhand and cook on the large Rolling J cattle ranch in South Texas bordering the Rio Grande River. The ranch employs two Vaqueros from the village of Montenegro in Mexico, just across the river, whom Tree befriends.


The quiet life on the Rolling J ranch is brought to an abrupt halt when a local sheriff warns that a band led by the cold-blooded, sadistic killer known as Gato Montes has been preying on the ranches along the Rio Grande. After the sheriff is nearly killed by these men, Tree is tasked with tracking them down, only this time, he is traveling alone and the dangers are greatly multiplied. His epic journey takes him back into the Llano Estacado where he is captured by Lonely Horse and taken to Mushaway Mountain where the Comanche carry out their own form of frontier justice.


Tree’s return journey puts him on the same path as Marco, a Mexican goat herder, who rides with him to the Mexican Village of Montenegro, where Tree meets Julia, who changes his life forever after he becomes involved in and bears witness to the wonderful celebration of Dia de los Muertos.

PRAISE FOR THE BOOK:

“I could not put this one down. Mayo has masterfully written a character-driven page-turner, a compelling tale for the reader who seeks something more than the stereotypical western novel.” —Ron Schwab, author of Goldsmith and the Law Wranglers series

“This mild-mannered west Texas rancher has woven a border tapestry using yarns made of unimaginable horror and sweet innocence.” —Tumbleweed Smith, author of Under the Chinaberry Tree

“A thoroughly enjoyable read—a cowboy’s trail you’ll want to follow, with a memorable cast of characters, renegades, soldiers, lawmen, and simple folks, and a hero that you’ll want more of.” —John J. Jacobson, author of All the Cowboys Ain’t Gone

CLICK TO PURCHASE!

BJ Mayo was born in an oil field town in Texas. His career in the energy industry took him to various points in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Louisiana, Alabama, Bangladesh, Australia, and Angola, West Africa.

He and his wife were high school sweethearts and have been married for forty-six years. They live on a working farm near San Angelo, Texas.

LaRae Russell Photography

◆  WEBSITE  ◆ 
FACEBOOK  ◆  TWITTER
  ◆  INSTAGRAM ◆  SKYHORSE PUBLISHING

Review

If you follow my blog you know that I am a fan of Westerns.  I love them, both movies and books.  I can feel the wind blow on the open range, love the smell of cows and horses, and the edgy sensation of walking across cattle guards.  So it is not a big surprise that I was thrilled when I got the chance to read The Sparrows of Montenegro.  Having read it, I am even more thankful for the opportunity.  It has all the classic features of a truly great Western beginning with the two main characters: Tree and Cedar.  

Tree and Cedar became friends when they joined the US Cavalry based at Fort Concho in 1870.  If you are a fan of Westerns you know that a friendship like theirs is based on few words and a lot of shared values.  They spend their time dealing with the Commanches while learning life’s important lessons as they go.  After leaving the Cavalry they find themselves both working at the Rolling J cattle ranch; Tree as a cowhand and Cedar as the cook.  The ranch borders Mexico and Tree can see the village of Montenegro from his favorite place to ponder, the top of a hill on the ranch.  The village fascinates Tree, especially their celebration of Dia de los Muertos.  

Unfortunately, there is a band of troublemakers ravaging the area, sadistically killing all they meet up with.  The sheriff needs help and calls on the one man he knows he can completely trust.  Tree accepts the assignment to find the band, specifically the leader Gato Montes, before anyone else falls prey.  Gato Montes is one of the most depraved characters I have read about.  He is totally believable as he is half Apache, half white with no sense of identity or belonging during the historic time of the Wild West.  Even though there are a few brief descriptions of his depravity, do not let this keep you from reading as Tree does us all proud.  You cannot understand the depth of a man like Tree without the horrendous character of a man like Gato Montes.

The Sparrows of Montenegro contains the amazing cowboys of old, the fierce native Americans who had few options, the beautiful rolling hills, the famous Rio Grande of Texas, cows, horses, goats, a roadrunner, love, and the wonder of a different culture that exists just across the river. This story presents today’s reader with a glimpse of a life long gone that helped shape the great state of Texas and puts one squarely in the saddle.   I would not want to have lived it but I sure love to read about it!

————————————— 
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