Written by: Scotty
The wild west may not have seemed too wild to some people, but when the truth comes out about why the migration took so long after the Civil War ended you would understand the resistance. Swillers, Hobgoblins and Werewolves roamed western territories after the war making it uncomfortable for the settlers to travel, much less find a place to live. That is where men like Uriah Zane come into play. A ghoul hunter of great notoriety in the west, even the ones he hunts know his name as he cleanses campsites, and clears out caves full of these cadavers.
While a large prison had been constructed by the country's higher ups to house the really bad hobgoblins, the werewolves were truly the scourge of the west, they could be defeated, but if you killed one in human form, he would haunt you for the rest of your days. Hellsgarde was built for the worst of the worst and they always had room for more. Charlie Hondo was the legendary prisoner in this dungeon, a werewolf shipped over from Russia who was the leader of the Hell’s Angels. His reach was greater than anyone could have known, by having a Mexican witch on his side that was helping to plan his escape from the awful prison. Werewolves changing in daylight and a fire breathing dragon hit Hellsgarde by surprise. Hondo was out and ready for his next task, to become the most powerful of his breed.
Zane has been on the heels of many of these types, always delivering on what he promised for the right amount of cash. Being a ghoul bounty hunter was far from glorious work, but it paid well. Zane had always wanted to work alone, but when he heard about the breakout of Hellsgarde, he knew he would have to take on a partner or two to help with the hunt. He ran into Angel out in the Colorado Territory, with a lot of history between them, they tried to keep each other at arm’s length, but neither were able to control their bloodlust of a common foe. Angel was a loner as well, but a very strong, very attractive hunter and one of the few women who Zane could trust would make it back every time with her bounty. The two moved west in search for Hondo and ran into another old friend, Al Hathaway who may be a little slow, but is just as deadly as the other two.
Dust of the Damned takes you back into the old west, were you have more to fear than just the Native Americans, you have a different and more deadly breed running over the plains. Zane and friends take to the trail and try to locate these Hell’s Angels before they are able to find a way to become more powerful. Although the Hell’s Angels are run by Hondo, the witch Ravenna is truly in control of the group, increasing their powers, heightening their senses and providing protection from the sky in the way of a dragon. Meeting opposition at every pass Ravenna tells the group to keep it cool while in the towns so they do not get noticed, but once they run in to the James-Younger gang, she is unable to follow her own direction. Jessie James joins the fight and heads off with Zane’s crew to put an end to the terror the Hell’s Angels are trying to put together.
Books like Dust of the Damned just make me smile. A retelling of history is always fun to get into and leaves you saying ‘what if?’ This book does not fail in this aspect, having the Union Army calling in the help of ancient evil to help win the Civil War and what would happen once the war was over. Where would all of the ghouls go? Out west of course where there is nothing to keep them from doing what they wanted to do all along, live and eat people. Author Peter Brandvold also gets you wrapped up with what outlaws would do if they did not want to get captured by the army, becoming ghoul hunters to keep money in their pockets and whiskey in their stomachs. The Wild West has never been so wild and I hope it does not come back to bite us in the neck.