Pale Horse Coming (Magill Book Reviews)
The story in Pale Horse Coming has been told many times--Seven Against Thebes, The Seven Samurai, The Dirty Dozen, The Wild Bunch, The Guns of Navarone, and The Magnificent Seven. The central element: a multi-talented group of adventurers is assembled to assail an unassailable target or to perform an impossible feat.
Stephen Hunter's version of this tale is equal to any of the versions just mentioned. The year is 1951 and the target for Hunter's protagonists is Thebes State Penal Farm (Colored), an infamous hellhole hidden up a dark river, deep in the swamps of Mississippi. There are rumors about the racist brutality of Thebes Farm. No one sent there, however, ever returns to confirm or deny the rumors.
It is with serious misgivings, then, that Arkansas attorney Sam Vincent takes an assignment from a northern attorney to look into the disappearance of the attorney's client in Mississippi--his last known address, Thebes, Mississippi. Before Vincent departs, he asks his longtime friend Earl Swagger to come looking for him if he doesn't return. When Sam disappears, Earl, a marine hero on Iwo Jima, and now an Arkansas State Police sergeant, goes after him.
Swagger engineers Vincent's escape from a sheriff's cell in the river village of Thebes, but he is captured himself. He becomes the first-ever white prisoner inside Thebes State Penal Farm. Swagger's bravery and stoicism...
(The entire section is 379 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of this article. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!