"Isaac's choices are stark, and the moral dilemmas he faces as he matures form the basis of this richly detailed, emotionally engaging slice of Texas frontier life. Chappell's novel reads the way a John Ford western unfolds on the screen: good folks, hard choices, humor, tragedy, and heartbreaking humanity played out against the backdrop of the great American West. A wonderful book for readers who like westerns that leave formula in the dust."ùBooklist starred review
"[This book] does what art demands: It makes us both think and feel."ùTexas Parks & Wildlife
"A Texas writer to watch. The author has created strong characters and a vivid sense of place in a tale that is punctuated with bloody fighting and awkward courtships on a tough, unforgiving frontier."ùDallas Morning News.
In Blood Kin, Isaac Webb, a young Texas ranger, struggles for decency amid the violence of the Texas Revolution and the early days of the Republic. Still in his teens when he joins the legendary ranger captain Noah Smithwick, Isaac discovers in himself extraordinary mettle in battle and a fierce yearning for young war widow Catherine Druin.
But victory over Mexico does not bring the new Republic nor Isaac the peace and stability he fought for. Escalating Indian depredations forestall IsaacÆs hopes to work the farmland heÆs cleared near Bastrop and to marry Catherine. Pressed into accompanying Smithwick as Sam HoustonÆs peace emissary to the Comanches, Isaac befriends Looks Far, a young warrior at whose side he fends off Waco attacks and with whom he learns to grieve.
As the TexansÆ hunger for land and the ComanchesÆ penchant for raiding imperil IsaacÆs friendship and thwart peace negotiations, Isaac returns to Bastrop prepared for the worst. When his future with Catherine is confounded by her fatherÆs blind hatred of the Comanches and his own commitment to the indomitable Inez, a Lipan captive, Isaac must confront a brutal dilemma and a painful secret.
So achingly honest and culturally sensitive is Chappell in his telling of this epic story that every image, every characterization rings true. It is hard to believe that he did not live it himself.