An American era that has continually existed as a time full of mystery and intrigue is the time period following the Civil War, particularly in the Western frontier. During this time, many Americans did not appreciate large industries taking over the eastern part of the country. As a result, many sought after the land west of the Mississippi River for expansive areas to mine, farm, and ranch. However, as well as being prosperous, the West also became a rather dangerous place. The nineteenth-century American West carries a reputation for being corrupt and violent. This premise is the set-up for Kyle Alexander Romine’s latest release, Atonement.
In this thrilling historical fiction novel, the protagonist, Christian, is a loner who wanders into the small town of Caster, Wyoming and discovers that it has been overtaken by a dangerous gang. The community can do nothing except live under the disastrous conditions. Christian initially wants to simply get some supplies and then be on his way; however, he cannot help but get pulled into the conflicts of this town. Christian also has a mysterious past that he seems keen on running away from, but that cannot be avoided forever. Staying and fighting off these outlaws will force him to confront the problems he has been trying hard to repress.
This novel is not only a historical fiction tale from the American West, but it is also a captivating thriller as well. This time period is extremely useful for writing a suspenseful horror story. Especially in the years following the Civil War, America was a disheveled nation. Trying to rebuild the country after it had been torn to shreds by its own people is not an easy thing to bounce back from. It is no wonder why the years during Reconstruction were difficult and many struggled during this time. Atonement plays off of this period in history to weave together a compelling story about the chaos and disorder of the West. Kyle Alexander Romines takes this historical period to the next level by using his thorough character descriptions and thrilling story to paint a picture of the American West like it has never been seen before.