Settler’s Chase by D. H. Eraldi brings the Old West to life. Eraldi’s rich descriptions of people, Montana’s landscape and bitter winter weather, transport the reader to this 1880's gritty time and place.
Sett Foster’s plan of setting a trap in a box canyon for wild horses was falling nicely into place. He’d break these horses and sell them for a good price to the Army. But suddenly a strange sight comes into view. A spotted Indian pony happens along, causing a disturbance among the small wild herd. But wait, the pony is wearing a crude saddle of some sort with a blanket flopping off to the side. As Sett watches the horses he almost has trapped run away in fright, he spots a cradle board swinging from the saddle with a tiny face peeking out of the tight laces.
In the meantime, Sett’s half Blackfeet/half white wife, Ria, is at their cabin alone, struggling with yet another miscarriage. Heartbroken, she knows she will never bear Sett’s child.
When Sett returns to their cabin with the infant, Ria is thrilled. Finally, a child! Sett knows it isn’t as easy as that. This is a white child and people will be looking for it. Stricken with more dashed hopes, Ria obeys her husband and they set out for the closest town to find the child’s family. She fiercely protects the baby and forms a strong bond; so strong, Sett dreads the time when she’ll have to relinquish the child. It’s an arduous trip with the weather turning colder and threatening snow.
Finally arriving in town, they find doing the right thing doesn’t always bring the desired results. Although they are met with kindness by some, others are suspicious and hostile toward Ria. Sett Foster’s tainted background arouses suspicion. The baby’s family has offered a reward for his safe return and there are townspeople who will stop at nothing to get that reward money.
Settler’s Chase is a fine western and a WILLA Literary Award Finalist. The author excels in portraying realistic, believable characters and bringing landscapes to life. I could feel the bitter cold during the desperate chase into the Montana wilderness.
Settler’s Chase is a sequel to Settler’s Law, another well-written and suspenseful western. Both novels, published some years apart, stand alone. For more information about the author, visit visit www.eraldi.net.