Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves is an origin story in the true American tradition. Before Bass Reeves could stake his claim as the most successful nineteenth-century American lawman, arresting more outlaws than any other deputy during his thirty-two-year career as a deputy U.S. marshal in some of the most dangerous regions of the Wild West, he was a slave.
After a childhood picking cotton, he became an expert marksman under his master’s tutelage, winning shooting contests throughout the region. His skill had serious implications, however, as the Civil War broke out. Reeves was given to his master’s mercurial, sadistic, Moby-Dick-quoting son in the hopes that Reeves would keep him safe in battle. The ensuing humiliation, love, heroics, war, mind games, and fear solidified Reeves’s determination to gain his freedom and drew him one step further on his fated path to an illustrious career.
Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves is an important historical work that places Reeves in the pantheon of American heroes and a thrilling historical novel that narrates a great man’s exploits amid the near-mythic world of the nineteenth-century frontier.
About the Author
Sidney Thompson teaches creative writing and African American literature at Texas Christian University. He is the author of You/Wee: Poems from a Father and Sideshow: Stories. Thompson has published his short fiction in numerous literary journals and anthologies.
"Thompson's short novel is a fascinating look at life in northwest Arkansas in the years before and during the Civil War, when the future lawman came of age and ultimately made his break for freedom. The rest of the trilogy is likely to be just as intriguing, especially because that's the way the real Bass Reeves lived his life."—Glen Seeber, Oklahoman
— Glen Seeber
“Fearless and unflinching, Follow the Angels, Follow the Doves is a magnificent work of historical fiction. The characters and the times in which they lived are intensely and beautifully realized, and every line rings with authenticity. . . . Its truths are ever so urgent.”—Steve Yarbrough, author of The Unmade World: A Novel
— Steve Yarbrough
“Sidney Thompson has the ability to pull you into the narrative and give you a glimpse of the antebellum life of a young slave destined for greatness as a lawman. . . . Highly recommended.”—Art T. Burton, author of Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves
— Art T. Burton
“This novel, like all the best historical fiction, reminds us that the most memorable events in our history happened in specific minutes, hours, and days to individuals every bit as complicated and contradictory as you or me.”—Susan Perabo, author of The Fall of Lisa Bellow: A Novel