About the book, The Sparrows of Montenegro
- 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 this 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
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About the author, BJ Mayo
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.
Connect with BJ
BJ Mayo’s latest novel, The Sparrows of Montenegro is a grand epic story of friendship, loyalty, war, peace, and culture. Set in and around what is now San Angelo, Texas (a place I’ve only heard of because a dear friend is from a town near there), Mayo has made the landscape as much a character as the human beings. He really makes you feel the dust and heat, or smell the goats.
But it’s the human story that is truly compelling in this book, and while we’re introduced to two strong characters at the beginning, Tree, a bear of a man who despises injustice, and Cedar, a sharpshooter who can also cook. The two become fast friends, but it’s really Tree’s story, for it’s his life that we see after they leave the Cavalry, and it’s he who tangles with a local man named Pablo who goes by the alias Gato Montes – which can be translated as “cat of the mountain” or “mountain lion.” (The former is more literal, I think the latter has more panache.)
Gato Montes is bitter and twisted, and his behavior involves levels of violence toward humans and animals that sensitive readers may want to avoid, but it should be noted that the grittier scenes are never gratuitous or written for shock value, and absolutely move the story forward.
While this novel isn’t a romance in the conventional sense, there is a bit of a romantic interlude once Tree meets Julia. More than a love story, though, The Sparrows of Montenegro is a satisfying saga of blood, land, honor, friendship, and trusting oneself to do the right thing.
Goes well with: birria de res and a bottle of Indio beer.
Autographed copies of The Sparrows of Montenegro.
(US only. Ends 2/19/22).
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