The Greatest Western Writer Of The 21st Century
In the harsh, unforgiving American frontier, in the vast wilderness that is Wyoming, a ruthless gang of cutthroats is ripping a bloody swath of death and destruction through the territory. No one can stop them…no one, that is, except for a legendary mountain man named Matt Jensen.
Massacre at Powder River
The year is 1884. A 10-year-old British boy has come to visit his uncle’s Wyoming spread, just as the vicious Yellow Kerchief Gang has the ranch under siege. Outgunned and outmatched, a British rancher is willing to pay $5000 for help. That is more than enough money to bring Matt Jenson into the fray. A huge, bloody gunfight, fueled by betrayal, erupts at the Powder River. But Matt has to shoot carefully. The Yellow Kerchief Gang has a hostage—the British lad named Winnie. And Matt has history on his hands, because Winnie Churchill must survive... Fifty years later Winston Churchill will fight a war of his own—carrying a Matt Jenson .44 shell in his pocket and a gunfighter’s spirit in his soul.
20 Grosvenor Square, London, England June 23, 1944
Overhead, the distinctive buzzing sound of the approaching V1 bomb grew silent and the guards around General Eisenhower’s headquarters looked up to the east to watch a small, pulsejetpowered, squarewinged flying bomb tumble from the sky. It was followed by a heavy, stomachshaking blast as the missile exploded, sending a huge column of smoke roiling into the air.
A few moments later an olivedrab Packard glided to a stop in front of the American Headquarters. The car was festooned with three small flags attached to the hood ornament: a U.S. flag, a British flag, and the four star flag denoting it to be the car of General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Captain Kay Summersby, the general’s female driver, hurried around to open the back door as the general came out of headquarters. Before Eisenhower got into the car his chief of staff stepped outside.
“We just got the all clear, General,” General Walter Bedell Smith said. “No more buzz bombs are headed this way.”
“Thanks, Beetle,” Eisenhower said as he climbed into the backseat.
General Smith and the guards saluted as the car drove away.
Fifteen minutes later the Packard drew to a stop in front of Number 10 Downing Street, and Kay Summersby hurried around to open the door for General Eisenhower.
“Thank you, Kay.”
He was met at the curb by Phyllis Moir, Winston Churchill’s private secretary. “This way, General. The PM is in the cabinet room.”
General Eisenhower followed the secretary through the labyrinthine halls of the residence of the Prime Minister of Britain, and past the two pairs of Corin thian columns that led into the cabinet room. Churchill, with the everpresent cigar protruding from his mouth, was standing at a small bar, pouring whiskey.
“Tennessee mash for you, right, General?” Churchill said. “I prefer Mortlach, which is an excellent singlemalt Scotch.”
He handed Eisenhower a glass. The whiskey in the glass caught a beam of light that passed through one of the enormous windows, causing the liquor to glow as if lit from within.
“Please,” Churchill said when he had his own glass. “Have a seat.” He indicated a small seating area which consisted of an oxblood leather couch and two facing saddleleather chairs. Eisenhower chose the couch. A coffee table separated the sofa and chairs. Churchill flicked the long white ash from the end of his cigar into the crystal ashtray on the table before he settled his rather large frame into one of the chairs.
“Any word on the buzz bomb attack?” Eisenhower asked.
“Six killed at the Waterloo Station,” Churchill said.
“That’s a shame.”
“Better than last weekend, when we lost two hundred to the attacks. What’s our status with the invasion?”
“We’re advancing toward Cherbourg,” Eisenhower said. “I expect we will have it within a few days.”
“Good, good, that’s wonderful news. Oh, by the way, I want to thank you for that pile of Western novels you sent over last week.”
“I’m glad I had them.”
“You enjoy reading Western novels, do you?”
“Yes, sir, I do. I keep a stack of them on my bedside table, and probably read about three a week.”
“Outstanding,” Churchill said. “I’m a fan of the American Western novel as well. Who is your favorite Western author?”
“I’m fairly eclectic. I like Zane Grey of course, Owen Wister, Max Brand, and Andy Adams.”
“Wonderful,” Churchill replied enthusiastically. “I like them as well.” He held out his glass. “Shall we drink to the American West?”
“It would be an honor.” General Eisenhower held his glass to Churchill’s. The men drank; Eisenhower took but a sip, while Churchill took a large swallow.
“Tell me, General”—Churchill wiped his lips with the back of his hand—“have you ever read anything about a Western hero named Matt Jensen?”
“Yes, of course.” Eisenhower smiled. “In fact, I even know a bit of trivial information about him. His real name wasn’t Jensen, it was . . .” Eisenhower paused for a moment, as if trying to recall.
“Cavanaugh,” Churchill said, supplying the name. “Matthew Cavanaugh, but after he was orphaned, he took on the name of his mentor, Smoke Jensen.”
“Whose real name was Kirby Jensen,” Eisenhower said. “And he was quite a hero himself. But, tell me, Mr. Prime Minister, how is it that you know so much about Matt Jensen?”
“I have what you might call a vested interest in that gentleman,” Churchill replied.
“All right, now you have me hooked. Why do you have a vested interest in one of America’s Old West heroes?”
Churchill took another swallow of his scotch. “I have piqued your interest, have I?” “I must confess that you have,” Eisenhower replied.
“If it had not been for Matt Jensen I would not be the Prime Minister of Great Britain, and I would not be sitting here before you, discussing the greatest invasion in the history of warfare.”
“How is that so?”
“Matt Jensen saved my life.”