Palo Duro Cover

Palo Duro

  Genre: Historical Fiction / Western
Publisher: Page Publishing, Inc.
Date of Publication: September 2, 2017
Number of Pages: 226
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Westward expansion following the civil war ushered in an era of increased conflict between the Southern Plains Indians and white settlers. Peace treaties offered temporary suspension of hostilities, but more often than not resulted in broken promises as the two cultures clashed over land. The construction of frontier forts and towns, the decimation of the buffalo herds, the movement of cattle through Indian lands to burgeoning western markets, – all of these forces threatened a way of life that had existed for centuries.
The Comanche, the Southern Cheyenne, the Kiowa, the Apache all fought to protect their customs and homelands. The clashes were characterized by savagery on both sides – Indian and white. However, finite numbers and options would ensure the tribes’ defeat; they faced certain death or forced relocation and their days were numbered.

Though the Indian wars are the focus of Palo Duro, the novel also captures the spirit of the “Old West” with its depiction of the great cattle drives from Texas into Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado and Montana, the cattle barons and the trail blazers, the outlaws and gunslingers, the lawmen and Texas Rangers, and the settlers and entrepreneurs who built this country. It chronicles an era characterized by heroism, brutality, and bold ventures while paying tribute to a genre that is fading from public consciousness – the western. It is the story of the Southwest United States towards the end of the nineteenth century and the rugged individualism that forged a nation.
This book captured Central Texas in the post-Civil War era better than any other book I’ve read. It was well researched, well written, and easy to read. I enjoyed this book more than Empire of the Summer Moon, the standard setter. I recommend this to readers of any level, even if you dislike history, as this book is that good. 
– Jeffrey R. Murray, Amazon review
Max Knight brought to life the saga of how Texas tamed their frontier. He presents a colorful experience with characters effectively placed throughout his story. If you have any interest in Texas history this book is a must read. – AmazonJacki, Amazon review
Palo Duro is an exceptional novel, well researched; a must read. 
– Chuck B., Amazon review
Reading this book is a great way to deepen and appreciate one’s Texas roots – or if you are not a Texan to understand and enjoy what makes Texas, well, Texas! I found this novel to be especially entertaining as well as informative. Made me want to go back and read Lonesome Dove again! – Michael P., Amazon review
In the spirit of the old Western genre of Zane Grey and L’amour, Max Knight pays homage to our national heritage with this fictional but historically accurate labor of love that warms the heart with his vivid imagery and authentic tone of America’s illustrious and sometimes brutal past. – Chester Sosinski, Amazon review
Why did you choose to write historical fiction?

I’ve always found history to be fascinating. However, anyone who has sat through a history lesson knows that the subject can be pretty dry, so my preference has always been historical fiction. The ability to add context through dialogue and character development lends itself, at least in my opinion, to a better understanding of our past and a more enjoyable reading experience.

Where did your love of books and reading come from?

My love of books and reading I got from my dad. He was an avid reader and encouraged me to do likewise – to use my imagination and expand my knowledge.

Is there any person you credit for being your inspiration for writing Palo Duro?

In late 2014, when I was considering a story to develop, a staff writer for the San Antonio Express-News by the name of Richard A. Marini published an article, in the Sunday, August 14th edition of the newspaper, entitled “Uncovering the Hidden History of the West.” In the article, Mr. Marini identified four pivotal battles with the Comanche that are at the core of my book: Blanco Canyon (October 1871), North Fork (September 1872), Adobe Walls (June 1874), and Palo Duro Canyon (September 1874).

Who are some of the authors you feel were influential in your work?

In my youth and into my adult life, I read and re-read the westerns written by Alan LeMay, Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey, and more recently Larry McMurtry. I found their books to be both enthralling and entertaining, and Palo Duro is homage to a genre that sadly is fading from public consciousness.

What projects are you working on at the present?

I’m almost finished writing a novel about U.S. military involvement in El Salvador during its civil war (loosely based on my own experiences in the mid-1980s.) It is one of America’s forgotten wars with consequences that affected not just this small Central American country but America as well. The violent street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) evolved from the conflict and has established itself within both our societies.

What do your plans for future projects include?

Some of my readers have asked when my next Texas story would be released. Well, there is nothing more cherished to all Texans than the cradle of Texas liberty… the Alamo. With so much already written about the battle by well known authors and respected historians, as well as current controversies over plans to re-imagine the site, there are certainly pitfalls to any such undertaking. However, I definitely have something different in mind and have begun putting pen to paper.

Do you have a mantra for writing and/or for life?

Life is History. Our Past is Prologue.

Max L. Knight was born in Panama in 1949, and was raised both in the Canal Zone and in San Antonio, Texas where he now resides with his wife, Janet “Gray.” A proud member of the Corps of Cadets and graduate of Texas A&M University (Class of ’73), he received a bachelor’s degree in English and a Regular Army commission and served the next twenty-four years as an Air Defense and Foreign Area Officer before retiring in 1997 with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. After leaving the Army, Max spent the next five years working for RCI Technologies of San Antonio, becoming its Director of Internal Operations. Separating from the company in 2002, he volunteered to be the first docent at the Alamo working within its Education Department before once again serving his country as a Counterintelligence Specialist in Europe, Central America, Asia and the Middle East through 2013. Max speaks several languages including Greek and Spanish. He also holds a Master of Science degree in government from Campbell University. He has written and published two books to date: Silver Taps, a personal memoir of his relationship with his father and a tribute to his alma mater, and Palo Duro, a novel focusing on the Indian wars in the southwestern United States at the end of the nineteenth century.
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