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Beyond the Horizons
by Doug Boren   

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Historical Fiction

Publisher:  PublishAmerica ISBN-10:  1592864309 Type:  Fiction


Copyright:  Dec 4 2002

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Beyond The Horizons
Beyond the Horizons

The story of four freinds in the Civil War in New Mexico and Arizona shortly thereafter.

    In the early days of the Civil War, when things were going mostly for the South, the Confederacy planned to extend its empire to California, taking advantage of the Pacific ports and vast goldfields. But first, they had to secure the New Mexico Territory.
    For Mace Alexander and his friends, the Civil War was just the beginning. Through the crucible of war, they would become brothers… though not all would survive. In the broiling heat of the desert, and across sun-swept mountains, they would become frontiersmen.
    As Mace would try to put the horrors of the War behind him, he found new ones to deal with as he fought in the Arizona Apache wars, determined to make the land safe for its stalwart settlers. Nothing could have prepared him for the unbelievable ferocity suffered by the victims.
     In the midst of this harsh land, with harsher men, Mace found an oasis of peace and beauty in the love of Angelina, the only daughter of Don Miguel, the region’s most powerful Ranchero owner. Could their love prevail over cultural clashes with the Spanish aristocracy, not mention the ever present threat of hostile Indians?
    Through love and war, with loss and survival, Mace learns that life changes everything and everyone. It’s always pushing forth new horizons. If you don’t keep up with it, you’ll be left behind, swept away. In order to survive, you have to face… and embrace theses changes.
     Driven by revenge, and bound together with loyalty and love, Mace and his band of brothers would face the ultimate challenge to their lives, and to their very souls. For the deadliest, most ruthless enemy of all awaited them… the Apache Snake Dancers! Their unholy sacrifices and blood crazed ferocity threatened to drive out the struggling white man forever. In the inevitable clash to come, there could be only one victor… one survivor. Only one to see… beyond the horizons.


The opening page.....

Chapter 1
The bullet struck him in the face, knocking out his front teeth, and exited through his left cheek. Bleeding, he fell from his horse as the cavalry bore down upon him.

The ground trembled from the onslaught of horse’s hooves, as well the artillery barrage. The air was thick with flying bullets and the din of the battlefield was chaotic. The wounded rebel lay on the ground and watched with stunned horror as the Yankee horseman thundered upon him. In an instant, he could see a widening grin on his face, a malevolent expression of satisfaction. He meant to trample him to death beneath his horse.

Suddenly from out of nowhere, came another horseman, and Tom recognized his good friend Mace a fraction of the second before they clashed. The Confederate cavalryman rode headlong straight into the Yankee’s horse in a terrible crash that sent both riders flying. The impact was so abrupt and powerful that the horses crumbled to the ground, and came to rest only a few feet from Tom’s outstretched body.

The Yankee had been taken completely by surprise, while the rebel was on his feet immediately. With saber raised, he scrambled over to his foe with cat-like speed. Before he could deliver his final blow however, the Union soldier managed to block it at the last moment with his own sword. There was a loud clang as steel met steel.

Around them the Union cavalry sped by, and on their heels was the infantry, only 100 yards away. The Yankee cavalryman, blocking Mace’s repeated saber strikes managed to get to his feet and soon they were squarely facing each other, panting. Out of the corner of his eye, Mace could see the attacking Yankee infantry running towards him. He knew if he didn’t do something fast, he was finished. Sidestepping, he circled and the Yankee followed, not letting him get an advantage. It was just what Mace wanted; for now he had the man between himself and the onrushing soldiers and was temporarily, at least, out of their line of fire.

The Yankee lunged with a powerful wide, overhead, downward blow. Mace jumped to his right narrowly avoiding it. As he did so, he swung his saber downward himself, and neatly severed the man’s hand at the wrist. In shock and disbelief the Union cavalryman saw his amputated hand lying on the ground still clutching his saber. That was all the opening Mace needed. With all the force he had in him, he drove his sword deep into the man’s chest, to the hilt. He held it there for a moment as the two men looked at each other, then swiftly yanked it out as the dead man fell to the ground.

Mace ran to his friend’s side immediately. “Tom!” He shouted. “Put your arm around my neck. We gotta take cover!”

Professional Reviews
Reviewed by Denise M. Clark
August 1861 – The Battle of Wilson Creek opens this Civil War Era tale with a riveting and compelling introduction into the lives of two men; best friends and soldiers of the Confederacy. Tom Lupton and Mace Alexander owe their lives to each other and share a bond as close as brotherhood. After saving the life of General McCulloch, a former Texas Ranger who has the opportunity to raise an army to fight in the New Mexico Territory in the hopes of adding to the vast domain of the Confederacy, Tom and Mace are given the opportunity to join this army. Upon doing so, the two friends embark on a danger-fraught journey to the danger-ridden deserts of the southwest.

Traveling west, they make new friends and experience a way of life they never imagined. They risk their lives fighting Apaches, whose treacherous warfare against the whites and Mexicans makes living in the territory dangerous and deadly. Mace and Tom endure their share of grief and torment as they nevertheless come to love the western territory. But a new menace unleashes itself on the territory with the appearance of Chactoke, a Mimbres Apache warrior, who compels his own band of Snake Dancers to wreak havoc on anything in their path. No one will experience peace until Chactoke is dead, and Tom and Mace are among the men who hunt him down before his rampage takes more victims.

Beyond the Horizons is a sweeping tale of the southwest, rendered in vivid dialog and riveting prose. Mr. Boren has written a western historical in a style that has long been absent in the fiction world, and has done so with his own unique voice. One can smell the desert sand and feel the hot wind on the back of the neck beneath his talented pen. His historical accuracy stands firmly behind his characters, who are brought to complete three-dimensional life to offer a riveting, action-filled and thoroughly satisfying read.

A well researched major literary novel.
The exciting cover of Beyond the Horizons by Douglas Boren immediately attracted me. I expected an adventurous fictional war story. But I discovered so much more! I found an obviously well researched major literary novel of the period in our history, both before the end and after the Civil War, as the nation pushed further west to colonize new lands. In fact, those that enjoyed Into the West on television should consider this book as a must-read. The time period may be the same; however, the characters and storyline are sufficiently different to explore this author’s unique presentation.

This is not an exciting book; it is not one that you read straight through because of the action-packed suspense and mystery. It includes significant historical coverage of the times and settings chosen. In fact, although it is not footnoted, as would be a nonfiction book of the period, much of Beyond the Horizons could stand as a significant research narrative.

Some of the book is extremely hard to read—its graphic images of actual war experiences are far worse than any fictional tale. Why? Well, the reader is drawn into the war stories in such detail that when actual events are described, they are more realistic—more naked. Even though they may be created images by the author, you are not quite sure—did these things actually happen in America? Can “man” actually be as evil as this? The shudders you experience are more real because you know that the characters were once alive…and died…protecting and fighting for what they believed in. The author’s underlying distinction between good and evil characters is presented in “overkill,” perhaps to ensure his readers realize that horrific evil exists and can overtake no matter in what war you fight or where you are. He succeeded! But this definitely makes it an adult-level book.

If you have ever bonded with a friend, so much so that you feel they have become your brother or sister, then you can visualize the primary characters in this book. Knowing that these rare and special friendships come with only one or two individuals in a lifetime, Douglas Boren uses that type of friendship to create men and women who are the backbone for good. You recognize these individuals immediately, whether they are main or minor characters. At the same time, Boren’s evil characters are inexplicably just as real to you. In addition to the enemy apache snake dancers, there are men within the ranks of the soldiers and in their families, whose pride, ego, arrogance and selfishness result in just as many deaths or just as much abuse as do the “supposed” enemies defined by the war.

Boren effectively uses a little-known fact to transition his main characters from the Civil to the Indian Wars. That is, during the Civil War, the Federal Government offered southern prisoners the chance to move west and fight the Indians rather than continue in prison. Since many were already seeing that the south was losing the war, they chose to accept this opportunity to continue to fight for what they believed in—to ensure men and women were able to live, protected and secure, wherever they wished.

I can’t imagine that any war re-enactor would want to miss this book, for it could serve as one of their textbooks! For lovers of gruesome adventure, action and suspense, tales of the Snake Dancers can’t be beat!

Beyond the Horizons is too graphic to be totally enjoyed; too good not to be read. This is an epic story of good men’s continual battle against evil men—whether they are rebels, Indians, or terrorists. This is a Today Book based upon yesterday’s terror. You need to read it!

G. A. Bixler
IP Book Reviewer

Reader Reviews for "Beyond the Horizons"

Reviewed by Misty Graves Thomason 7/13/2009
reading this excerpt, makes me definately want to read the book. I am a history fan especially the civil war and Indians. This book sounds like a must read
Reviewed by Glenda Bixler 1/3/2009
Welcome! Glad to see you in your new Den!

Reviewed by Joyce Scarbrough 2/16/2004
Doug Boren is ruthless. It wasn't enough for him to craft this epic Civil War novel with the skill of a master storyteller or for him to move and enlighten his readers with the multitude of rich historical content he injected into this saga. No, he ruthlessly makes his defenseless readers feel as if they are witnessing first-hand the brutality of war, imprisonment, massacres, and the cruelty that dwells in the hearts of evil men.

And yet, amidst all the blood and gore and horrors of battle, he manages to introduce us to characters who love and care for each other so deeply that it sustains them throughout their lives. It's amazing that the same book that contains scenes that horrify and repulse can also contain scenes that abound with tender emotions, sensitivity and an appreciation of life's true pleasures and the beauty to be found all around us.

The main characters of Mace, Tom, George, and Louie are the embodiment of the spirit that made the American West wild, but there is nothing typical about any of them. They have other dimensions that are wonderfully illustrated in their relationships with each other, with the men they meet and respect, and with the women they love. We rage with them, laugh with them, suffer, cry and love with them as they travel over the untamed landscapes of their lives. Mr. Boren even makes us feel for the vile, despicable character of Chactoke--a renegade Apache who is almost evil incarnate. We hate him fiercely for the horrific things he does, but we know that even he has suffered in his past and can't help feeling for him at times.

This is not a feel-good book to curl up with and savor--it's too real for that. But when you finish reading it, you will have gained a better understanding of just how much our forefathers endured for us. Sometimes, ruthlessness is a good thing.
Reviewed by Dinah Roseberry 7/23/2003
Beyond the Horizons is a stunning example of great writing and vivid realism! Of heroes who personify valor and desire. Of women filled with passion and strength. Of villains that drip with malice. This historical fiction novel combines adventure, romance, and brutal vision with the trials of both the Civil War and the battle for survival in the Wild West as it follows a band of friends through the daily pain of living and the fierce warmth of loving. From page one you will feel the will and determination of a young soldier caught in a time of fury where one knew why to fight but not why death was always so close on the heels of winning the battle.

Be ready to run the gamut of emotions as Boren takes you into the realism of life on the edge. At times I laughed with the characters, feeling a content that one wishes for in real life. But just as I was becoming comfortable, the lurking menace and evil were so strongly and cleverly written that my skin crawled with revulsion and a shiver made its tingling way up my spine. But the worst – or the best, depending upon how one looks at it – were the times that tears fell as I slammed the book shut, shouting: “No! That cannot happen now!”

Make no mistake: Boren is on his way with this epic saga of ruthless life and love in times not so pretty. It might even make one wonder about the parallels of times present. Read Beyond the Horizons. You won’t be sorry.
Reviewed by toni rich 6/17/2003
What a grabber! You can feel their fear. It draws you in. PS Loved the bookmarks you did for Sherry Gibson. Any hints on how to make them look so very professional. and also, I am a retired nurse...was a school nurse in the Atlantic City High School for a loooong time.
Reviewed by Terry Vinson 5/3/2003
Having been fortunate enough to read 'Beyond The Horizons' in its glorious entirely before its actual publication date, I must congratulate Doug Boren for painting an immensely realistic landscape of the old west, while also penning some of the finest battlefield action scenes I've ever had the priviledge to read.
His characters breath realism as well, and their dialogue is as gritty and sincere as the actions that drive them.
I could almost taste the gunpowder and smell the cannon smoke! You will find yourself rooting for the heroes that Doug has created, while at the same time be swept away by a fictional landscape that might well have been.
I recommend anyone who enjoys a good dramatic storyline, accompanied by suspenseful scenes and astonishing action to purchase 'Beyond the Horizons' upon its release by Publish America.
Such a novel would make a great television or cable mini-series.
Again, congrats to Doug for a finely honed project worthy of praise!
Reviewed by Kum Hui 5/3/2003
Just completed a 'sneak peek' read of Doug Boren's fantastically realistic western/action novel 'BEYOND THE HORIZONS' and I cannot stress enough how purely exciting an experience it was!
As a born 'rebel', I have to say I rooted especially for Tom and Mace in the action-packed and equally suspenseful travels they experienced!
The characters are fresh; their dialogue wondefully colorful. The action scenes are gritty, bloody and real, as they should be.
It's a novel that's hard to put down once you start! Equal parts drama, action-adventure, and suspenseful chiller, I whole-heartedly recommend this fine work, and cannot wait to hold a copy of the finished product in my hands! Way to go, Doug, and good luck on all future writing endeavors! No doubt there's more to come from such a talented scribe.
Reviewed by Gail Bellenger (Reader) 4/24/2003
This excerpt certainly puts the reader right in the mix! Very, very exciting and definitely leaves the reader wanting more. In fact, I can't wait for more!
Reviewed by Lynn Barry 2/5/2003
Although I only read chapter one I was impressed with the dialogue and the excellent writing...made me want to read on...good job!
Reviewed by Henry Custer 1/17/2003
Beyond the Horizons: An aptly named novel of intense friendship and emotionally charged dangerous situations. Bound to hold your interest through interlaced episodes of dangerous adventures. A novel as big as the land it describes.
Reviewed by D. P. Roseberry 1/12/2003
Beyond the Horizons drops a reader into the depths of times past with heroes as fresh and alive as this morning’s news. Not since John Jakes has there been a story told with such ferocious realism, combining the hard conditions of the era with the personality of true life. Brilliantly written! Terrific emotional intrigue! The west is, indeed, wild! Don’t miss this one!

Reviewed by Linda Alexander 1/8/2003
Sounds exciting, very visual. There may well be many writing successes in your future!
Reviewed by Sherry Gibson 12/9/2002
Now here is a book that seems to have it all! Suspense is dripping from the first page. I like the twist of a book about the civil war, but in a totally different area that one normally reads about. War, suspense, love, friendship, all wrapped in one package, this says winner in my book! Good luck
Reviewed by S Robinson 12/7/2002
I love the excerpt; quick, feverish and very visual. The oft-overlooked Civil War battle fields in New Mexico is also an intruiging locale from a novel. Great!
Reviewed by William Overby 12/5/2002
Great job, Brian. Vivid and emotional.
Reviewed by James Filegar 12/3/2002
Excellent read! Personalized action, great description of the peril they were in. The reader is there! This excerpt is enough to make it a 'must read'!

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