Custer's Brother's Horse (New Book) - Edwin Shrake
A young Confederate captain with a grisly past as a behinds-the-lines cavalry raider in the mountains of Tennessee is on his way home to his impoverished family plantation north of Houston in the last days of the Civil War. In Austin, Capt. Jerod Robin is accused of murder and is thrown into the stockade by U.S. Army Capt. Santana Leatherwood, a Texan whose family has feuded bitterly for decades with the Robin family over a piece of land on Big Neck Bayou in southeast Texas.
In the stockade Robin meets British novelist, journalist and adventurer Edmund Varney, who has come to Austin to write the life story of Lt. Tom Custer, heroic younger brother of famous General George Armstrong Custer. Varney is charged with attempting to steal Tom Custer’s legendary warhorse, Athena, upon whose back Custer recently won two Congressional Medals of Honor within six days of fighting in Virginia.
The two prisoners are marched to a kangaroo court in a foundry east of town, where they stand trial beside a 16-year-old mulatto girl, Flora Bowprie, who has come from New Orleans searching for her father but has had her mules and wagon stolen and has herself been arrested as a runaway slave.
Homicidal events growing out of their trial cause the rebel captain, the British author, and the young fortune teller from the French Quarter to flee for their lives from a Seventh Cavalry squad led by Santana Leatherwood and by Tom Custer, himself, mounted on his great Arabian horse.
As the story races to the inevitable showdown between the Robins and Leatherwoods, two families on opposite sides in the Civil War, the three fleeing prisoners encounter the Spanish wife of a Texas senator who is facing a lynching by German nightriders. At Burroughs Cove on the Colorado River they sail into the midst of an outlaw gang dedicated to burning out Unionists and ambushing Yankee soldiers. They meet an extraordinary woman who has spent the war running a hideout for draft dodgers known as brush men.
Along the way Varney reveals the truth of why he tried to ride out of Austin on the war horse Athena and tells of his adventures in India and Afghanistan. As a mercenary soldier fighting for a Punjabi rajah he saw an entire British army massacred at the Khyber Pass on their retreat from Kabul, and suffered two great losses of his own that he has never gotten over.
Before the final confrontation Jerod Robin hears a dark accusation about his birth and his mother that lends a special ferocity to the showdown which causes a witness, an aged slave, to believe the world is ending.
Then the story of Custer’s Brother’s Horse takes a twist that will surprise and please you. This is a horse for the ages.