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A richly authentic epic adventure of rough-hewn men and courageous women, set in the hard country of the American Southwest frontier.

Hard Country is a rare and extraordinary story of one family’s struggle to settle and endure in the vast, untamed territory of New Mexico.

In the wake of the death of his wife as she gives birth to his son, and the killing of his brother on the West Texas plains, John Kerney is forced to give up his ranch, leave his son behind, and strike out in search of the murderous outlaws and a place where he can start over. He drifts south until he meets a man who offers him work trailing cattle to the New Mexico Territory and forever changes his life.

Spanning the years of 1875 to 1918, Hard Country is the Western reinvented and enlarged into a saga that above all celebrates the people and the land of the great Southwest.

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    Excellent Epic

    This is the type of book I can get into, it has everything a good epic should have. It's hard for me to describe how much I enjoyed this book without including the sequel, "Backlands," which I read immediately after finishing this book. I've read all of James A. Michener's and most of Wilbur Smith's books, and cautiously put these two in the same category, without the sometimes over-elaboration, if that's a word. Several wars, and The Great Depression, they cover a lot of ground. McGarrity builds his characters in such a way that you care about them; in fact some of the main characters are very complex, and provide lots of emotion. Great descriptions of the New Mexico landscape, and the difficulties in trying to squeeze a living out of it, what with storms and droughts, poor demand for beef and horses, and human factors. All-in-all, one of the best reads I've had in awhile.


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