Chief of Thieves by award-winning author Steven W. Kohlhagen is historical fiction, based on a factual group of 1862 con artists who successfully stole millions of today’s dollars, became cattle ranchers in Oregon and Wyoming, and ultimately met their respective fates at the Battle of Little Bighorn.
Chief of Thieves takes the reader into the disasters of early Western cattle ranching life and the births of lawless Wyoming towns; inside Cheyenne villages and tipis, where this hunting civilization of people, called “the greatest horsemen and cavalry the world ever saw,” lived, raided, and were attacked and massacred as they slept; and into the relentlessly driven lives, internal conflicts, and battles of George Armstrong Custer’s 7th Cavalry.
The stories interweave from Colorado negotiations to battles in Oregon, Wyoming, Kansas, and what is now Montana, including the massacres at Sand Creek and the Washita River, before culminating on a beautiful June 1876 day on the Little Bighorn River.
Custer’s Little Bighorn decisions under fire become understandable in real time when death comes to historical and fictional characters, con artists, U.S soldiers, and Cheyenne as the three stories merge climactically on that fateful day in American history.
At that moment, three more men walked in through the Bucket of Blood’s swinging door. They carried shotguns. The girls retreated behind the bar. The bartender pulled out a shotgun and placed it on the bar. It was pointed at Lincoln.
“I’m giving you fair warning,” the taller brother said to the man he had called Jim, ignoring the three newcomers. “You get out of here now and take your six friends with you. We’ll forget this ever happened the minute the doors slaps your butt.”
“It’s you three who are leaving” Jim said. “Put your guns down there. On the table.”
“You don’t leave right now, I’ll shoot you right where you stand. Self-defense. Creating a public disturbance. Threatening us. I assumed you were armed like your friends.” He shrugged. Said, “Your choice.”
“Actually,” Lincoln said, “The choice is yours, friend.”
The bartender reached for the shotgun. Nick waved him a warning gesture with his left palm as he aimed his gun at the bartender’s chest.
The other two brothers looked over their shoulders at Lincoln.
“You going to shoot both of us?”
“Like I said, and I just hate to have to repeat myself, it’s your choice. If one of the three of you pulls a trigger or even turns around, then the next three shots will kill you all. I know you’re armed, I don’t have to assume.”
The bartender stepped away from the bar. The other two brothers holstered their pistols. The man with the shotgun nearest the door motioned the girls and the other eleven patrons out of the bar. The two girls looked expectantly at Nick as they backed out the door.
“What now?” said the taller brother after everyone had left.
Under the cover of the three shotguns, the four men who had entered first disarmed the three half-brothers and handcuffed them behind their backs.
“Now we’re going to kill you.”
Available at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Chief-Thieves-Steven-W-Kohlhagen/dp/1632930455/
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Best of luck with your book sound interesting,