Sophia Rose is back with the third novel in the Jake Paynter, historical western series. Come check out her five star review of To the Gates of Hell by David Nix. This is a series I hope to dive into as well…..
by David Nix
Genres: Historical, Western
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Jake Paynter escaped the noose, but the price of salvation is pain.
Since reluctantly accepting the marshal's job at South Pass City, Jake's life has become an unending run of solving other people's problems. When outlaw boss Dutch van Zandt and his ruthless band mount a campaign of mayhem in Jake's corner of the Wyoming Territory, Jake learns that Lucien Ashley, his persistent adversary, may be aiding the criminals to expand his burgeoning cattle fortune. The fact that Lucien is the brother of Rosalyn, a woman Jake admires, complicates matters.
Determined to thwart van Zandt and Lucien, Jake recruits a posse of old friends and former platoon mates that puts the outlaw gang on the run. When Lucien betrays van Zandt, the outlaw leader loots Jake's town and takes Rosalyn and four children captive. With friends few and enemies in abundance, Jake must thread a harrowing needle to run down van Zandt in the rugged Wyoming wilderness and save Rosalyn and the children without ending up in a shallow grave.
Sophia Rose’s Review
Having ridden along with Jake Paynter to this final showdown that draws all his powerful enemies like vultures, I had mixed feelings about arriving at the end. As series go, this has been an amazing experience entering David Nix’s western world and his superb way of capturing a western genre story. I have been rooting for Jake’s hard-fought path to redemption all the way and can’t wait to see if he makes it through this last and most intense series of challenges.
To the Gates of Hell is the third of the Jake Paynter series and builds on the background and series arc laid out through the earlier books, so doesn’t make a good standalone.
Jake is the Marshal of South Pass City in Wyoming with his former Buffalo Soldier friend Gus and the former wagon train scout, half-Shoshone, Stacy as his deputies. Rosalyn is teaching her school. They all made it through the last struggle.
There is more to come. Dutch van Zandt, the powerful outlaw leader, and Lucien Ashley are confederates to take all they can and gain more power in Wyoming Territory. A train robbery led by van Zandt’s guys has Jake calling a posse of his deputies, friends and Shoshone Beah Nooki.
The danger jacks up when Van Zandt is betrayed by Ashley and Rosalyn, and some of her students are captured. Jake might think he’s not good enough for her, but he will ride straight into the fires of hell to save her and that might be literal when the steamy hot countryside of Yellowstone is involved. Dare he trust Ashley as an ally?
But, don’t look now, van Zandt isn’t the only dangerous villain with sights set on Jake. Even with his capable friends, Jake’s chances are slim.
To the Gates of Hell was an astounding grand finale. It had to be with the way the previous books took the reader into breath-stealing shootouts and tight situations, rough outlaw encounters, greed and intrigue, and the grit of a guy who won’t stay down even if he thinks his past defines him.
Besides the charging, pulse-pounding pace and tone of the plot, the development of the characters, especially Jake, but also his friends and even the villains, made for a lushly drawn historical backdrop, setting, and the most fascinating people. While Jake is hard-scrabbling to a good life even if he still has doubts and his friends from many Western types (without being clichés) know his worth and back him, it was also interesting to see the bad guys including Rosalyn’s brother have layers of gray in them. The villains are clearly that, but one does get their motivations. Jake’s ruthlessness and grit are what is needed to face the might of all those out to take what they can.
The romance was still on the backburner, but I did love seeing the tender times for Rosalyn and Jake and sense they have a good chance if they can catch a break.
All in all, this was a monumentally fab western trilogy. I think this was the end because the loose threads were tied off, but I wouldn’t be upset for more hard-hitting westerns from the Jake Paynter world. Western fans of the old-style westerns need to try out this series.
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I don’t read many westerns and haven’t read anything by David Nix. But, this sounds so good!
I love westerns, but I haven’t branched out to many authors. I enjoyed some of David Nix’s historical romances penned as Sawyer North.
Lover of Romance
This one looks really good especially if you love historical westerns. Its sad the romance was on the backburner but sounds it still had some good romantic elements to it. Glad you enjoyed this one darling!
Lovely review! And Happy Thanksgiving!
There was so much going on that it didn’t feel like the romance was being shunted aside. Its a sweet and quiet thing in the midst of so much other stuff in his life. Thanks, Renee!
You have a happy Thanksgiving, too!
Glad to her the series ended on a great note. I ill need to look into this series.
I was so caught up in all the intense action where they were just trying to stay alive that I was worried how it would ever turn out for the good. 🙂 It was definitely a good final book.
Is it the ending that Indiana Jones would be happy to have?
Haha! Very much so, Ailyn!