No Land For Heroes
Mildred Berry is down to her last four bullets…
In a wild west where the only things more dangerous than outlaws are dragons, Deputy Berry is struggling to protect her town and keep her family fed. As a last resort, she robs a train for ammunition only to find that the cargo she needs so badly was owned by war hero Frederic Rousseau.
The same Frederic Rousseau whom she served during the Amelior Civil War. The same Frederic Rousseau she’s been hiding from for the last five years.
Millie knows a secret that could ruin Rousseau’s life, and he’ll stop at nothing to keep her from telling the truth. With her violent past bearing down on the life she’s built for herself, Millie has to decide how far she’ll be willing to go to keep her town safe.
No Land for Heroes is a really brilliant novel, a strong debut, and something I didn't know I needed. Pistols, war witches, trains ... it has everything it needs. The only question I have is: when we will have the sequel?
If there wasn't something making my heart pound because of the action, then I was falling in love with the characters and the relationships formed.
A serious contender for one of my top books of the year! The story and characters are engaging in a way that is truly rare to come across.
I liked the way Black played with gender expectations. I laughed often. The plot rolls along at a good clip. The writing is snappy and fun to read. And the 'found family' is strong in this one. I whole-heartedly recommend this book and look forward to more.
About Indigenous Representation and Concerns of Appropriation
I have involved indigenous voices prior to publication. I have had multiple indigenous readers both for sensitivity and after publication who are comfortable with the respectful inclusion of an indigenous inspired culture in the book. I've had extensive discussions regarding the portrayal in the book of a plains nation and what is and is not appropriate to include.
For example, discussing how a nomadic nation would live and travel on the plains is appropriate while discussing any healing ceremonies or spiritual ceremonies is not. The one non-spiritual ceremony present is pure fiction, as is the Ghost Eye's belief that individuals of their nation with pale hair or eyes can see into the spirit realm. These are not from a living culture, but fiction.
It is important to note that I am not telling a story of an indigenous person, but showing that they were a significant part of the 'wild west' while deconstructing the tropes often found in those older portrayals. To remove them would be erasing their presence, which is harmful in a different but equal way.
I strongly encourage readers to pick up books by indigenous authors. Indigo has a great list to get anyone started.