Saturday, January 13, 2018

Wilderness #01 - King of the Mountain

“King of the Mountain” is the excellent debut of David Robbins' ‘Wilderness’ series. It was released by Leisure in 1990 under Robbins’ pseudonym David Thompson. The series ran 66 volumes over the course of 20 years, and also extended to “giant” versions as well as omnibus collections. Set in New York City (population 100,000) in 1882, Nate King is a low-level accountant with a crappy boss and a job with limited upward mobility. His girlfriend is a materialistic pain in the neck who will only marry him if he can establish that he has the capacity to support the spoiled girl. A solution to this problem presents itself in the form of a letter from Nate’s long-lost Uncle Zeke, the family pariah who ventured west to pursue frontier adventures. Zeke wants Nate to meet him in St. Louis and promises a share of the “treasure” Zeke has amassed. Driven by his own wanderlust and greed, Nate sets off on a horseback adventure to meet Uncle Zeke in St. Louis. From there the adventure continues westward. This is basically an origin and travel story where a city dandy learns the ways of a wilderness mountain man on a cross-country horseback adventure. The mentor/student scenes are both enlightening and captivating. The road adventures include run-ins with dangerous wildlife, kindly Native Americans, scalp-hunting savages and conniving road thieves. There are plenty of scenes of explosive, bloody violence and tension-filled stand-offs. The author also injects several interesting historical tidbits of pre-cowboy frontier life in the unsettled west - you’ll be thrilled while learning a thing or two. This debut was a straight-up, nearly perfect genre novel and it will make you want to continue the story into book two and beyond.