Dark Frontier

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Pub Date Oct 08 2024 | Archive Date Jul 04 2024
Head of Zeus | Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book

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A thrilling historical western set in 1890s Oregon, from the author of the critically acclaimed Bernicia Chronicles. An English soldier turned police officer escapes to the American West for a new life, but things in Oregon prove far harder than he expected.

A man can flee from everything but his own nature.

1890. Lieutenant Gabriel Stokes of the British Army left behind the horrors of war in Afghanistan for a role in the Metropolitan Police. Though he rose quickly through the ranks, the squalid violence of London's East End proved just as dark and oppressive as the battlefield.

With his life falling apart, and longing for peace and meaning, Gabriel leaves the grime of London behind and heads for the wilderness and wide open spaces of the American West.

He soon realises that the wilds of Oregon are far from the idyll he has yearned for. The Blue Mountains may be beautiful, but with the frontier a complex patchwork of feuds and felonies, and ranchers as vicious as any back alley cut-throat in London, Gabriel finds himself unable to escape his past and the demons that drive him. Can he find a place for himself on the far edge of the New World?

A thrilling historical western set in 1890s Oregon, from the author of the critically acclaimed Bernicia Chronicles. An English soldier turned police officer escapes to the American West for a new...

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ISBN 9781804548592
PRICE $30.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 6 members

Featured Reviews

I would like to say thank you to the publisher and to NetGalley for giving me an opportunity to read the book before most people. Although the author was new to me, I absolutely loved reading this story and will be following Matthew’s work in the future.

London, 1890. Lieutenant Gabriel Stokes accepts the invitation from his old army friend to visit him in Oregon. Stokes, tortured by his gruesome experiences of war in Afghanistan and work in the Metropolitan police, journeys across the Atlantic. He hopes to leave his broken career and broken marriage behind, to forget the horrors of the Afghan battlefield and the squalor of London’s East End. Instead of finding peace in the beautiful exotic land, he arrives in a world of violence and corruption where the law has no power. Stokes is drawn into a murder investigation and forced to join the fight for the land between the cattlemen and sheepherders.

The book is very well written; the simple and easy-to-read language gives enough details to make you fall in love with Oregon’s beauty and the characters. While reading, I was so engrossed by the story that even TV near me couldn’t distract me from the book. The characters are realistic and relatable; Lieutenant Stokes isn’t a perfect Superman, but an ordinary man rich in virtues yet wrestling with vices. I’ve become emotionally attached to the characters. Even though I finished the book a few days ago, I still struggle with a book hangover. I do hope Matthew will make this the first instalment in the series.

Historical background
The book is very well-researched. I loved the attention to detail, which made the setting palpable and transported the reader directly into the heart of 1890s Oregon. The author’s extensive work and research become evident in the notes at the end of the book. Here, Matthew talks about the extensive groundwork of historical events and real-life figures he used for his fictional story. Those notes prompted me to seek out further reading and deepen my understanding of the era.

Who is going to enjoy the book?
Anyone who likes well-written, fast-paced, and well-researched historical fiction will love this no-doubt future bestseller.

The author’s fusion of fact and fiction not only entertains but educates, offering readers an immersive experience that lingers long after the last page is turned. While I’m struggling with my book hangover, I will go check out all the other books written by this author.

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I enjoyed Mathew Harffy's previous novels in the Bernicia Chronicles set in the dark ages.
I actually enjoyed this more and I can't wait for the next installment.
It read in the style of the other great western novels I have read by Larry McMurtry such as Lonesome Dove Comanche Moon and Dead mans Walk.
The novel make you picture the 'West' at a time when justice was only found behind a six gun, scenery, lawlessness, raw beauty and all
This story follows Gabriel Stokes an ex hussar and London policeman who finds himself involved in a ranch war when he visits his friend John a Sheep rancher in Oregon.

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"Dark Frontier' was an incredibly well composed, page-turning, story of the untamed and unpredictable American West. Hard to believe Harffy didn’t grow up or spend considerable time in Oregon with the way his prose and descriptions of the land capture the beauty and calm of the region.

Quick chapters leave the reader wanting to read “just one more,” in order to find out what the primary characters might find, stumble upon or be attacked by over the next hill. I thought the pace of the novel was exceptional in that the story starts abruptly, grabbing attention. Harffy then, allows space for the bond/dichotomy between Stokes and White to develop naturally along their journey to The JT. As the story progresses, we are then tugged back and forth between quiet moments of tranquility, love, humor and excitable moments of evil, greed and good ole fashioned Wild West gunslinging.

I truly enjoyed the juxtapositions of Stokes and White both dealing with mental health and addiction in their respective ways, but being forced by proximity and circumstance to address the issue on more than one occasion.

Great characters (unbelievably stoic and heroic female characters), great storyline, great themes, beautiful descriptions and carefully selected bits of history during the particular era make for an incredibly tasteful read. Well done.

I must thank the Aria & Aries Team, along with NetGalley for the ARC. I have and will continue to spread the word about this one. Damn good book.

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Another brilliant book by Mr Harffy a bit different from his usual novels. This one is set in America and follows the exploits of an ex policeman from England. Let's hope there are more in this series

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