3 out of 4 stars
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Groups of tired, hungry and dirty men, worn out by war, are gathering up at the Kansas-Missouri border. It is the year 1896 and the Southerners have just lost the Civil War. They have been forced to a bitter surrender. One of them, Tommy McCoy, sure is happy that he made it through the war alive and almost without a scratch, but deep down inside he is burning for justice. He just recently learned that during the war some Northern generals have made a habit of raiding Southern families illegally. With a bit of luck, Tommy discovers a map which reveals where these stolen valuables are hidden. Tommy and his father send out a word to other McCoy family members, and because they all need a fresh start along with some rays of hope for the future, they decide to get the valuables back to where they belong.
The McCoys: Before The Feud by Thomas A. McCoy is a fictional story, but has its roots in real life – it reflects the history of the author’s own family. It is also not just a single novel, but instead the first book of a historical Western saga. In addition to telling this story, The McCoys: Before The Feud is also building up a ground and some frames for the whole saga. This might partly explain why the plot in this book is quite simple, straightforward and at times even a bit boring. At the beginning it seems like Tommy McCoy and his kinfolks succeed in everything they lay their hands on. Somewhere in between eating hearty meals and scouting and plotting, they actually manage to pull out some successful raids. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? But I must warn you. The secret of this book lies in the good spirits of these honest, jolly and hard-working men. They are most likely to steal your heart away before you even notice, and suddenly you find yourself biting your fingernails out of the excitement as the men continue with their mission.
Technically, The McCoys: Before The Feud by Thomas A. McCoy is an extremely well-written and edited book with hardly any mistakes but I did find one thing that bothered me a great deal. The titles of the chapters were too descriptive, tending to give away too much of the content. A reader could predict what is about to happen in the storyline just by reading the titles of every chapter. My sincere wish is that the author would give some more thought to this detail in the books yet to be written in The McCoys saga.
Anyone with an interest in historical or western stories would probably find The McCoys: Before The Feud a good read. Being a very straightforward, harmless and good-spirited kind of a book, I could also see it in the hands of teenagers in the verge of maturity. As a relatively easy read, it is as well a good fit for less experienced readers.
After a long consideration I decided to give this story 3 out of 4 stars. The McCoys: Before The Feud truly is a good book. Even though it is perfectly researched, planned and written, I feel it still lacks the touch of that special magic wand which would make it jump out as an outstanding reading experience. I believe the author Thomas A. McCoy is fully capable of finding this magic wand and I am therefore looking forward to seeing the touch of it in the next parts of The McCoys saga.
The McCoys Before The Feud
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