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Ranger privates Andy Pickard, the onetime Comanche captive called Badger Boy, and the war-anguished Farley Brackett, are assigned to deliver a prisoner to the sheriff of a county some distance from the ranger camp on the San Saba River. The prisoner, Jayce Landon, has recently killed a man named Ned Hopper and is to stand trial for murder.
The rangers quickly learn that the Landon and Hopper families are involved in a blood feud and that Jayce Landon is the target of both clans: the Landons want to rescue him and the Hoppers want to kill him. Worse, Jayce is to be delivered, jailed, and tried for murder in Hopper's Crossing, a settlement owned, populated, and run by the family dedicated to killing Jayce and all his Landon kin.
The young rangers soon encounter the main figures in the hate-filled Hopper clan -Big'un, a huge lout who is deputy sheriff at Hopper's Crossing, and Judd Hopper, county judge and patriarch of the family. And when Jayce escapes, hell breaks loose with the rangers caught between the warring factions.
Andy Pickard, reunited with his old mentor, retired ranger Rusty Shannon, has another problem or two to deal with. He is worried about Scooter Tennyson, a young son of an outlaw who has been "adopted" by the rangers at their San Saba River camp and who earns his way as a cook's helper. Scooter's father, now released from prison, has come to take his son back-and into a life on the run. And Andy has a growing affection for Bethel Brackett, sister of his worrisome partner, Farley.
Texas Vendetta, fifth in Elmer Kelton's memorable and critically acclaimed Texas Rangers series, is filled with the author's always engaging characters and is set against the historically accurate backdrop of the turmoil of post-Civil War Texas.
- Tom Doherty Associates, April 2007
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