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Blood Sky at Morning

Cover of Blood Sky at Morning

Blood Sky at Morning

Shadow Rider Series, Book 2
Those who inhabit the harsh, beautiful, blood-red land between Tucson and Fort Bowie have never seen the like of the Shadow Rider—who appears out of nowhere and vanishes just as suddenly in the desert...More
Those who inhabit the harsh, beautiful, blood-red land between Tucson and Fort Bowie have never seen the like of the Shadow Rider—who appears out of nowhere and vanishes just as suddenly in the desert...More
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Description-
  • Those who inhabit the harsh, beautiful, blood-red land between Tucson and Fort Bowie have never seen the like of the Shadow Rider—who appears out of nowhere and vanishes just as suddenly in the desert heat. Now death and lies surround him again. The Apache are under siege for murders they didn't commit—and Cody's riding hell-for-leather into a war where nothing's what it seems. But his mission is to get to the truth . . . and to kill the cause of the bloody chaos—even if it means laying down his own life.

Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    Zak Cody cut sign that morning just after he passed Dos Cabezas. The tracks were both disturbing and puzzling. There was blood, too, mixed in with the dirt and the rocks. At least six men, he figured, on unshod ponies, had lain in wait for the stagecoach. There were drag marks, and these led him to a gruesome discovery.

    The bodies of two men lay spread-eagled on their backs near a clump of mesquite and cholla. Their throats were cut, gaping like hideous grins. Bluebottles and blowflies crawled over the wounds and clustered on their eyes. The men were hatless and scalped. They wore army uniforms and they had been stripped of their sidearms.

    Zak stepped off his horse to examine the dead men more closely. One of them, a young lieutenant with blond fuzz still on his face, had blood on his shirt, a few inches under his armpit. He pulled the shirttail out and saw the wound. It appeared the young man had been stabbed there. The other man wore a sergeant's chevrons on his shirt. He had a dragoon moustache and there were small scars on his face that had long since healed. A fighter, from the looks of him. His nose had been broken at least once in his lifetime, which Zak judged to have been about forty years.

    Moccasin tracks all around the bodies. Hard to tell the tribe. Chiricahua maybe. This was their country. The hair on both men's heads appeared to have been pulled back to take their scalps, slit their throats. A few strands around the dollar-size patch where the scalps had been lifted were sticking straight up.

    At least one of the men had voided when he died. The young lieutenant, he decided, when he bent over to sniff. He smelled like a latrine. The urine smell stung his nostrils, so they hadn't been dead long. An hour, maybe less.He set about deciphering the tracks, walking around the wagon's marks where it had stopped. Wagon or stagecoach, he couldn't tell for sure which just then. Six separate sets of horse tracks. Four horses, shod, pulling the wagon or coach. A depression where one body had fallen, close to the side. The driver, probably. On the other side, more marks, indicating a struggle, then another depression a few feet away from the wagon tracks.

    Then the wagon had driven off. And it wasn't trailing any of the unshod horses. Who had been driving? Why had he or they been allowed to leave? Was the lieutenant the target? The sergeant? Both? Strange, Zak thought.

    He mounted up and continued down the road in the direction the wagon had gone. The pony tracks led off on another tangent. Business finished. Where had they gone? There was no way to tell without following the tracks. And even then, he might not know why they had attacked the wagon, or coach, and why they had just let it drive off. None inside the wagon had stepped down. He had accounted for all the tracks.

    Yet someone had escaped.

    Why?

    Zak touched a hand to his face. Two days of stubble stippled his jaw. The hairs were stiff enough to make a sound like someone scraping a match head across sandpaper. He touched spurs to his horse's flanks and left the smell of death behind.

    The wind moved miniature dust devils across the land like dervishes on a giant chess board, with squares painted burnt umber and yellow ochre. Cloud shadows slipped across the rocky outcroppings and small spires like wraiths from some surreal dream, slinking and rippling over the contours of the desolate earth, making the land seem to pulse and breathe. Little lakes shimmered and vanished in the smoke of shadows, only to reappear again farther on in silver curtains that danced enticingly along the old Butterfield Stage route that wound through stone cairns and cactus like the fossilized path of an ancient serpent grown...

About the Author-
  • Jory Sherman is the Spur Award-winning author of the westerns Song of the Cheyenne, The Medicine Horn, and Grass Kingdom, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Letters.

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    HarperCollins
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Shadow Rider Series, Book 2
Jory Sherman
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Jory Sherman
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