This review covers the first two books in the Billy Battles trilogy written by Ronald E. Yates. The first book is Finding Billy Battles, An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption.
I usually shy away from investing my reading time with a trilogy. One, I feel obligated to finish the series even if I am uninterested in the story or how the story is written. And two, if I am really interested in the series, I impatiently wait for each installment to be written.
However, the Prologue: Ted Sayles hooked me.
As a prolific journal writer, I was intrigued with Ted Sayle’s inheritance of journals and memoirs written by his Great-Grandfather, William Battles. Mr. Sayles had inherited “a historian’s treasure – firsthand accounts of some of the most significant events and people in the nineteenth-century and early-twentieth century.” He also had inherited other personal artifacts from this great-grandfather.
How cool is that?
The Preface of the book states it is a work of “faction. That is, the story it tells based partly on fact, but has been augmented with narrative fiction.” It further goes on to qualify that many of the protagonists were actual persons.
Faction or not, this first installment of the Billy Battles trilogy captivated my attention with Billy Battle’s acquaintances with the likes of Wyatt Earp and others. Throughout reading this book, I kept daydreaming about all those journals and how I would love to read them, touch the handwriting in hopes of being transported back in time. With the help of Mr. Yates excellent writing of the first third of Billy Battle’s life, the reader is easily transported back to that era.
Sidebar: When I read other book reviews, I skip the reviews that practically give the story away or go into a lot of editorial comment. It takes away the fun of reading the book myself. I try to give you enough about the book and why I liked it to make your own decision.
Perhaps it is my limited attention span because of modern technology that I found the chapters too long for my liking. Mr. Yates provides so much information and detail that at times the reading was a tad daunting, but I couldn’t wait to read the second installment, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles.
This first installment of the Billy Battles trilogy, Finding Billy Battles, An Account of Peril, Transgression and Redemption, I gave 4 out of 5 hoots.
The Improbably Journeys of Billy Battles
The second book picks up in 1984 on board of the SS China headed for the Orient. It’s a wild ride on the sea and in the jungles, a vast difference than Billy’s beginnings in Kansas and the wild west, but no less thrilling. Billy Battles finds love and heartache.
Side Bar: Okay guys, don’t let the love and heartache part stop you from reading this fascinating journey of Billy Battles. There is so much history action written on these pages that I doubt you will find much of it in history books. Yes, it is a work of faction, but remember this story is based on personally written journals from one who lived it.
I enjoyed the second installment of the Billy Battles trilogy even more – not because of the love and heartache, but because of the era in which it was set. Today, we think nothing of getting on an airplane and traveling the world because we know it won’t take us long to get to our destination. Plus, we are instantly connected to our family and friends through our electronic devices. Yet, the book reminded me of how harrowing traveling around the world to parts personally unknown could not only be thrilling but exceptionally scary at the same time.
As a mother, I identified with Billy Battle’s mother. As a woman, I loved the intelligence, wit and moxie of Katharina. I wondered what it must have been like for Billy’s daughter, Anna Marie to have been separated from her father for such long periods of time.
The second book of the Billy Battles trilogy, The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is given five out of five hoots.
The first two books of the Billy Battles trilogy must be on the summer reading list. The final book in this trilogy is due out in late summer. I can hardly wait!