Official Review: Clevenger Gold by S.E. Swapp

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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bluegreenmarina
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Official Review: Clevenger Gold by S.E. Swapp

Post by bluegreenmarina » 01 Mar 2017, 16:19

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Clevenger Gold" by S.E. Swapp.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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A gripping tale from the wild west, this book has it all – gold, murder, cowboys and “Injuns”, a sordid love affair, and more! Clevenger Gold by S.E. Swapp is a compact and riveting fictionalized account of a real murder that took place in the late 1800s, the events that lead up to it, and the events that followed. This story also holds something beyond the page – the promise of a treasure lying still unfound, with clues to its location buried within the book for the ambitious and adventurous reader.

The story opens with a scene introducing two of the main characters – John and Frank, whom we find locked away in a jail cell preparing for an intense game of cards. The chapters that follow explain how the two men wound up in that cell.

Each of the men independently comes to join the Clevenger family as they travel north from Arizona, with the intention of arriving in the Washington territory. Sam Clevenger, the cantankerous head of the family, is traveling with his ailing wife and adopted teenage daughter with the intention of settling in the north, and hires both men to assist him on the journey. The events that follow are not what any of them signed up for.

Much like the beloved game The Oregon Trail, the travelers must deal with maintenance of their covered wagon, dangerous river crossings, hostile encounters with Native Americans, and supply shortages. The chapters take us through an account of the trip and its gruesome outcome, following each of the characters involved through the events and their aftermath. Each character is painted vividly, and despite the book being a fairly short read, the author successfully portrays their personalities in a way that leaves a memorable impression and allows the reader to understand the motivations behind their actions. The narrative is clear, engaging, and succinct, making this a quick and satisfying read.

This is a raw account of the wild west in all its dirty glory, complete with rather gruesome scenes of violence indicative of the instability of the times. Due to the detailed nature of the accounts of this violence, this book would not be appropriate for younger readers, or readers sensitive to gory detail. The character dialogue and represented dialects are authentic to the time period, which at times manifests as racist speech by the characters in the story – something that readers should be prepared for. The story ends with a solid conclusion that ties up just enough of the loose ends to answer any lingering questions about the case, while leaving open the possibility that a hidden treasure may in fact be waiting for some lucky individual at an old and forgotten campsite in the Northern Arizona Buckskin mountains. I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars, and recommend it to lovers of westerns, and people looking for a quick, fun, and intriguing work of historical fiction.

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Clevenger Gold
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Post by kandscreeley » 02 Mar 2017, 09:09

Sounds like a well thought out story. I can only imagine what it would be like to travel The Oregon Trail, and it sounds like this book gives you an idea. Thanks!
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Post by greenstripedgiraffe » 03 Mar 2017, 08:49

Great review! I loved the Oregon Trail game - back when :D this book sounds like an enjoyable way to gain some more knowledge about that particular time in history.
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Post by hsimone » 17 May 2017, 06:12

Great review! A wild west tale filled with gold, murder, cowboys, and suspense? Sounds exciting! Though I can't remember if I ever played The Oregon Tale game, this sounds like a suspenseful read that many will enjoy. Thank you for sharing and congratulations to the author for receiving such a positive review!
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Post by Scerakor » 17 May 2017, 06:15

Thanks for the review! This sounds like an authentic, fast-paced novel to compliment the annals of the tales of the wild-west. I may just have to check this one out!

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Post by Gravy » 17 May 2017, 06:25

I've never really read a western (unless you count weird westerns :lol: ), but this sounds interesting enough. I'm intrigued by the land they travel, and wonder how accurate the author got it.
Thank you for the review.
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Post by gali » 17 May 2017, 06:45

I read a few westerns of Louis L'Amour and liked them. You got me with "This is a raw account of the wild west in all its dirty glory". I will check it out, thank you.
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Post by tarafarah7 » 17 May 2017, 07:38

I love how the story starts out....good 'ol game of cards...for your life!! Hehee! Good review....looking forward to reading the rest!

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Post by ChillAndRead » 17 May 2017, 08:24

That sounds like a really good wild west story! Thanks for the review!!
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Post by christinac_2585 » 17 May 2017, 11:07

Sounds like a great story and gives great detail of how the West was in the 1880s. From the review it looks like this book may have a little bit of everything in their including romance. Thank you for your great review.
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Post by mindyg123 » 17 May 2017, 11:29

Great review. A book with gold , murder, and all that goes with it in the Wild West sounds like a great read can't wait to read it. Congrats on being BOTD.
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Post by AlwaysWorthIt » 17 May 2017, 11:37

Great review. It's not often that we have the ability to read about the journeys of those that came before us in a true account through journals. Most of the time we only learn through hearsay. It sounds like the book is filled with accounts that the schools generally hide from us when we learn about the wild west.
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Post by va2016 » 17 May 2017, 11:47

Such a great thorough review! Thanks for covering all the aspects of the book. I would have totally opted to read this book but I was discouraged by the happenings in the first chapter. I figured the cowboy type of story is not mine. Anyways, I am sure many others will like the book!

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Post by James Craft » 17 May 2017, 11:53

The racist speech of the story makes me a little leary of this one but it sounds like a great read. Well done and sounds good.
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Post by Maria Jingay Lapira » 17 May 2017, 11:54

A must read book about for those who love history and for those who wants to broaden up their horizon. a very great book..

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