A Good Man is a superbly crafted story as big as its setting, even if the West in the late nineteenth-century (with saloons and ‘Sioux hostiles’) is losing its wildness. It walks the line between and, raises questions about, ethics and politics. It’s not heavy going reading, though; it’s a page-turner with romance and adventure unfolding against tensions between First Nations and Forts on opposite sides of the border. What Vanderhaeghe does best is build a narrative world big enough for your imagination to explore. He is a master storyteller, and A Good Man is a captivating story about friendship.
I later went back to the first book in the border trilogy, The Englishman’s Boy. I cried during the buffalo killing scene, such power and wildness brought low by injury caused by technology, and then ridiculed.