Alfred Wallon is one of the leading Western writers in Germany and has been for many years. Recently some of his novels have begun appearing in English translations, as well, including BLUECOAT PATROL, the first in an epic series of historical Westerns called The Bozeman Trail War.
This novel is set against the background of the long-running clashes between the Plains Indians and the U.S. cavalry prompted by the various discoveries of gold in Dakota Territory and Montana. In BLUECOAT PATROL, a group of cavalrymen led by Captain Frank North and guided by scout Buckskin Charly Weatherford joins a group of prospectors headed to Alder Gulch, Montana. North’s assignment is to protect those goldseekers, but not surprisingly, he encounters trouble not only from the warriors led by chiefs Red Cloud and Dull Knife but also from the very men he’s supposed to protect.
Wallon’s historical research is very solid in this novel, and his characters are well-drawn. Frank North is a stalwart hero and Buckskin Charly a top-notch sidekick. The translation gives the prose a voice that’s not quite what we’re used to in traditional Western novels, but at the same time, it works just fine and the story moves along well. Not everything is resolved by the end of BLUECOAT PATROL, but that’s not surprising considering that the series continues for a number of other volumes. It actually reminds me a bit of the old Easy Company series published by Jove under the house-name John Wesley Howard, although it’s more realistic. If you enjoy historically based Western novels or cavalry yarns, check out BLUECOAT PATROL. I enjoyed it.