Yea Though I Walk is what I’ve discovered is called a “weird Western”, a Western with a fantasy or steampunk spin. Which is, in my opinion, something there ought to be more of. The spin in Yea is that the hero and first-person narrator of the story is Linthicum Odell (a fine name), who is working to become a Godpistol, a righteous hunter of unnatural and evil creatures like the hungry undead or blood-sucking Strigoi (called striggers, which is kind of brilliant). But he deserted during the Civil War, and while it’s taking a very long time for him to be accepted as a Godpistol, he feels that’s only right. He needs to prove himself. He needs to redeem himself for past sins.
To that end, he has taken a mission to bring silver coins to a smith – a former Godpistol – to be turned into silver bullets. And … well, I never thought of that before. Mr. Lone Ranger, sir, how are you acquiring all those bullets you’re so famous for? In pursuit of that duty, he is attacked by some horrible creatures new to him, and discovered by a townsman called Denton Folger (such good names) who has an extraordinary relationship with a Strigoi.
At one point fairly early on in the book, someone made a suggestion that caused my eyebrows to go up. I won’t even hint at what the suggestion was, because that suggestion was realized in a remarkable manner, and it would be too easy to do to this book what someone did to The Sixth Sense for me; there’s a twist in the tale, and it’s just a bit mind-bending. What was funny, and fun, was that I noted a couple of things I thought were plot holes … and, as it turns out, they weren’t.
I did groan a bit at “the faun hanging in the corner”; I don’t believe goat-footed mythological beings were among the creatures roaming this earth. But on the whole the writing was as well edited as it was enjoyable.
I loved the characters, and the complexities of their relationships. The evils that they faced were truly, honestly frightening – strong and unpredictable and horrifyingly numerous. And with all of this in a Wild West setting that rang true – well. I have a new go-to subgenre in Weird Westerns.
I received this book from the publisher for review.