bookcover-outcastsA taut, thrilling adventure story about buried treasure, a manhunt, and a woman determined to make a new life for herself in the old west.

It’s the 19th century on the Gulf Coast, a time of opportunity and lawlessness. After escaping the Texas brothel where she’d been a virtual prisoner, Lucinda Carter heads for Middle Bayou to meet her lover, who has a plan to make them both rich, chasing rumors of a pirate’s buried treasure.

Meanwhile Nate Cannon, a young Texas policeman with a pure heart and a strong sense of justice, is on the hunt for a ruthless killer named McGill who has claimed the lives of men, women, and even children across the frontier. Who—if anyone—will survive when their paths finally cross?

As Lucinda and Nate’s stories converge, guns are drawn, debts are paid, and Kathleen Kent delivers an unforgettable portrait of a woman who will stop at nothing to make a new life for herself.

 

Buy the Book:
Buy from Amazon Buy from B&N Buy from BooksAMillion Buy from IndieBound Buy from Powell's

 

 

LISTEN to Kathleen Kent, Madeleine Roux, Russell Banks and more on LiteraryNewEngland.

  • "The fates of a newly minted lawman, a former prostitute, and the promise of buried gold collide in Kent's (THE TRAITOR'S WIFE) gripping third novel…. That Lucinda and Nate's paths will cross is inevitable, but Kent ditches predictable romance for a tense, unsparing look at the price we’ll pay to get what we think we want." —Publishers Weekly

    "Kent, a talented storyteller whose first novel—THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER, about the Salem witch trials—was a New York Times bestseller, manages to upend expectations through rich characterizations, historic verisimilitude and a close study of East Texas geography...There are echoes of another Texas-identified author, Cormac McCarthy, in Kent’s bloody novel, especially in scenes where the lawmen debate the nature of justice. But time and again, largely because of the humanizing attention to women and minority characters traditionally given short shrift in historical fiction, Kent manages a fresh take on a tale that could have been just another redundant entry in the Lonesome Dove sweepstakes." —The Texas Observer

    "Kent paints vivid pictures of the wide-open spaces of Texas, the growing small towns and the more contemporary cities of Austin, Galveston and Dallas. Hotels, brothels, businesses and bars line the streets of these cities, and Kent visits every one. The reader gets to travel by horse, boat, carriage and train. Kent's extensive research is showcased in her detailed history and descriptions of the South in the late 19th century When Lucinda's and Nate's paths finally cross, there is sorrow and hope. But who’s right and who's wrong? Who can come out of this story and have a happily ever after? Who's the real villain and who's the real victim? Kent's mastery of historical fiction will leave it up to you." —The Star Telegram

    "THE OUTCASTS is well-written, tightly plotted and full of ingenious twists….Like the rotgut poured at some dusty Old West saloon, this tale has a wicked kick to it." —The Dallas Morning News

    "Kent…judging from her fantastic depictions of 19th century Texas, could have been [Larry] McMurtry’s sister." —The Iowa Gazette

    "[Kent] has the ability to make the characters bigger than life, real, sympathetic, credible. One of the best books I have ever read! Definitely one that I will read again and again." —Historical Novel Review

    "The story is a well-plotted Wild West adventure, told in alternating halves between two equally intriguing protagonists…Kent is a gifted linguist, ably acquitting herself in writing both the literary and the lurid. Her cast is very well-developed down to the most secondary expository character, and her descriptions, whether they be of flowers in a field or a bullet-shattered gut, are exceptionally vivid. She also wrote an extended metaphor scene for each protagonist that is just exceedingly well-crafted. And the implied title metaphor: Wow. That thing is nestled in here like one of those Russian dolls—the more you unpack it, the more you find.” —Litreactor

    "Kent shines not only as a storyteller but as a landscape artist, never better than when describing the sense of a place." —Kirkus Reviews

  • Prologue

    For a thousand years, the northern, windward side of the island lay fallow. The sand tracked its way inland along with the bellowing gusts from the ocean and the serpents too that crawled towards shelter in intricate breaststrokes. Bald cypress and pine grew on ancient creek beds, and Spanish moss hung from live oaks, trailing heavily in sweet-water streams. Leeward, along treacherous shallow reefs, a ship followed a northwesterly course, its sails at full rigging, the bow pointed towards the mainland. Twelve miles to the south, on the island's port city, a red house burned.

    The Pride would make no return to the island; its captain, Jean Lafitte, had been proclaimed a brigand. The great red house had been his—the entire Galveston settlement had been his—and he had torched it rather than give it over to the hard-following agents and hounding merchant marines of the new Americas.

    The ship he sailed was over one hundred feet long and fast beyond belief. Shallow-drafted for mobility and stealth, it had been stripped of every bulkhead to make room for additional men and powder, and outfitted with sixteen cannons for killing. It maintained its northerly course through Galveston Bay, slackening its sails only when April Fool Point had been passed.

    At the mouth of Clear Creek, the anchor was dropped, and over the side of the ship a longboat was lowered into the water. Onto the longboat climbed Lafitte, followed by two men holding two chests filled with gold coins. They would row beyond Clear Creek into the heart of Middle Bayou.

    At sunset, Lafitte returned to the ship without the men, and without the chests. By midnight, the Pride was well on its way to the Tropic of Cancer and the Yucatán that lay beyond it like a pale virgin sleeping, reflecting the light of countless stars.

    C H A P T E R  O N E

    A hard fall had come upon Lucinda, throwing her to the floor of her bedroom, chafing an elbow and bruising the skin on one cheek. It had happened on a Monday, so that when the dizzying waves came over her again on the following Wednesday, she stood with her back pressed flat against a door for balance and her hands balled at her sides. A crescent of sweat beaded her lip, and she could taste the salt as it ran into the corners of her mouth. She closed her eyes and waited for the rigors to pass.

    There had been a forewarning of this within the first hour of waking. The scent, strange and not altogether pleasant, had seemingly rolled out along with the folds of the gray bombazine travel dress that she unpacked from a box hidden under her bed. She thought for an instant that the dress had perhaps been secretly taken out and worn by one of the other girls, the fabric still carrying the remnants of a too-old perfume. She frowned in irritation and pulled the dark jacket closer to her nose. Then she remembered that the odor was a part of the malady, a sign that was of her and not apart from her. She had seen the beginnings of fracturing lamplight, the hazy yellow globes floating and pulsing at odd intervals, and she had known the aura for what it was. She had gone weeks without such a fit, until the Monday past. It was the stress of the impending travel, she thought, that had brought back her intractable weakness.

    She had managed to finish dressing that morning by herself, willing her arms and legs through the complicated layers of laces and hooks of undergarments and overdress, and she was fine until the moment she stepped out of her room. She latched the door soundlessly behind her before her limbs began their jerking, trembling rigidity, her mind sliding towards blankness.

    She was damp through her clothes, her forehead slick and prickling, but to move away from the door, even to dab at her neck, could pitch her facedown onto the thin carpet, waking the occupants in the nearest bedroom. She dared to let her chin fall, her eyes downcast and half closed, her lips twitching as though in conversation with her shoes.

    The shoes. She saw right away how ridiculous was the turn of mind that had prompted her to put on the high-laced boots of yellow kidskin. They were thin soled with raised heels, and the color flashed from the hem of her skirt like a lighthouse beacon through a storm. They were insubstantial and ill-advised for traveling, but in a moment of stubborn vanity, she had put them on, rather than the sturdy black walking boots that she had packed into her traveling bag.

    Next to her feet, where she had dropped it, lay the tapestry bag containing a light cotton dress, a heavier woolen dress, a paisley shawl, her teaching primers, a lady's gun, and a bottle of laudanum. The laudanum had proven useless against the fits, as had bromine, tincture of mercury, and every other apothecary offering. She had once even tried an evil-smelling concoction of herbs and what looked like turtle shells bought off a Chinaman. Boiling the dark fragments into a tea had filled the house with foul odors, driving Mrs. Landry, the house's owner, into one of her own fits. Lucinda never tested its merit, as her landlady had thrown it all into the yard to be pecked over by the hens.

    But the laudanum would bring comfort on the nights she couldn't sleep. The Remington offered reassurance of a different kind.

    There was an easing of the spasms in her legs and neck, and she felt the edges of her vision expand again to the ends of the hallway on either side of her. The wave of sickness she had felt moments before resolved itself into simple morning hunger. Although the paralysis had been brief, precious time had been lost. It could be only a half hour more, if that, until the woman arrived to clean the downstairs parlor.

    The only sounds came from the room next to hers: a gentle snoring and a squeaking of a bed frame as the sleeper shifted.

    Still she rested against the door, breathing slowly the stale air coming off the worn carpet. She wondered how many feet had trudged up and down the hallways, day upon day, hour upon hour. Mrs. Landry was not a young woman; she was already well in her forties, although her fondness for wearing false bangs and low-cut, tight-fitting gowns had not diminished over the decade she had run her busy and very profitable house.

    How many women and girls had trodden these stairs, each thinking to stay for a short while, to make some quick riches selling the only asset left to her, the garden between her legs, only to find that quick and plentiful were two different things entirely. It was astonishing really how many of them believed they could be frugal enough, or smart enough, or sly enough in their dealings with Mrs. Landry to save the money required to set up their own shops somewhere else.

    She'd seen girls as young as twelve taken in, girls who had already spent months with the camps, following men on cattle drives. Hollow-eyed and detached, even after a stiff scrubbing, they looked in their wet nakedness like wiry boys, their backsides flat as china plates.

    And also older women, well beyond their years of first budding, who, because of widowhood, or misuse, or just plain boredom, came and stayed for a bit to change their luck, then disappeared again. What was the same for everyone in Madame Landry's house was the importance of accepting a simple mathematical truth: the law of diminishing returns. The longer you stayed, the deeper in debt you became, through the acquiring of either gowns, doctor's bills, liquor, or laudanum.

    There was never any forcing of boarders to stay if they wanted to leave. But every woman was searched foot to mouth before she exited through the always-locked front door, taking with her only what she'd brought into the house. Rarely did a woman depart with any money after her accounts had been settled, and even a trip to the dry-goods merchant or postal office earned a close inspection.

    The enforcer in this was Mrs. Landry's German. The German spoke halting English and was never tempted by bribes of any kind, either flesh or money. High-voiced and sloe-eyed as the German was, house gossip had it that he had somehow been gelded as a boy and thus had no weakness for women, even though he shared a bed nightly with Mrs. Landry. He also had fists the size of Easter hams.

    Mrs. Landry's bedroom was off the parlor closest to the door, and the trick for Lucinda would be slipping through the door without waking the pair of them. The woman was a notoriously wakeful sleeper and, it was said, could tell the number of times each of her girls used the chamber pots from the squeaking of the floorboards overhead.

    For days Lucinda had been greasing the lock and hinges of the door with a feather covered in lard, and she carried in her stays a key made from a mold of the German's own key, a mold she'd obtained by pressing the key into a thin brick of soap hidden in a small tin box.

    The German always kept his key on a chain fastened to his belt. But it had not been difficult to distract him with a turn at cards. Lucinda had sat near him, her head bent towards his, the better to patiently teach him the rules of faro. She spoke encouragingly to him, laughing and gesturing extravagantly as she deftly slipped the key from his pocket, pressing it into the soap, and then passed it back into his pocket again before the hand had played out.

    She didn't know whether the copied key would even turn the lock, but she would get only a few tries at the door before Mrs. Landry would wake thinking the oily rattling was the cleaning woman come early.

    Bending her knees, she dipped down to grasp the top of her bag, and then slowly raised herself again to standing. She pushed away from the bedroom door and used the forward momentum to grasp at the wooden finial at the top of the stair rail. She placed both hands on the railing to steady herself, the bag's handles looped over one arm, and stepped carefully down the stairs, riser to riser, the carpet absorbing the sounds of her progress. At the bottom of the stairs, she rested a moment, breathing through her mouth, waiting for the play of stippled lights inside her eyes to subside. A renewed wave of nausea came and went. The scrabbling of a mouse, or a rat, settling in the walls sounded faintly and then stopped.

    At the door, she pressed her forehead against the wood, and the key slid easily into the lock, but she paused one last time to listen for any movement within or without the house. There were no sounds coming off the streets, and she turned the key soundlessly, and felt the heavy bolt slip open.

    Through a narrow space, she eased out, and then shut the door gently behind her. She inserted the key in the outside lock and slipped the bolt back into place. Dropping the key into the pocket of her day coat, she turned and walked, carefully at first, and then more briskly, southwards, away from the direction the cleaning woman would come.

    Past Jody Strange's sporting house and gaming parlor, she turned left onto Fourth Street, unmindful of keeping her head down or veil drawn. The streets were yet empty and hollow-feeling, as she'd known they would be; the girls of Hell's Half Acre of Fort Worth and their stay-over clients were still unconscious. After the cleaning woman arrived, Mrs. Landry would likely go back to her bed until noon, and it might be another hour after that before Lucinda was discovered missing from the house. But by then she would be several hours gone.

    She followed Fourth Street to Rusk, then turned southward again, towards the better hotels and saloons closer to the coach depot and wagon yards. September had been dry, and, instead of the usual sucking mud oozing through the pine planking, the only thing caking her yellow boots was a fine scrim of dust.

    She entered the Commerce Hotel, sat in the lobby, and ordered tea and a piece of bread. The clock behind the clerk's head struck the half hour past seven. At eight o'clock the coach would come.

    She smiled wanly at the clerk, making sure he took note of her face, and asked if the coach to Dallas would be on time. A few pleasantries were exchanged, the clerk being made to believe that Lucinda would be visiting family there, so that when the German came looking for her, and he would certainly come, he'd be told she was in Dallas, and Lucinda would gain some much-needed time.

    She was in fact taking the coach beyond Dallas, through Waxahachie, Hillsboro, Waco, and finally to Hearne; over one hundred and fifty miles. At Hearne she would board the rail line to Houston, a hundred and twenty miles farther on.

    She had begun to feel better, only a tightening at her temples and a kind of burning sensation at the back of her skull to prove she'd had the fit. She finished her tea and bread and paid for them with a few coins drawn from a delicate embroidered pouch. When she replaced the small pouch in the carpetbag, her hand instinctively felt for the reassuring weight of a much larger pouch filled with a comfortable sum of money taken from Mrs. Landry's cache under the floorboards of her room.

    Lucinda had discovered the hidden place only recently, and by accident, while caring for Mrs. Landry during a brief illness. The madam's fever-pooled eyes had constantly, and anxiously, sought out a place on the floor near her bed, as though by habit, and when Lucinda gently tapped the boards with the toe of her shoe, she heard a hollow sound. After an extra draft of laudanum for Mrs. Landry in the early afternoon, Lucinda made a quick examination of the floorboards that proved her suspicions right: something of value had been tucked away underneath. In a hollow space she discovered a canvas sack filled with hard currency; merchant tokens; and shinplasters, the paper money given out during the war. The heavier gold and silver coins had settled to the bottom and she removed as many as she dared, reducing the size of the bag imperceptibly.

    Later today, after Mrs. Landry realized Lucinda was gone, she would immediately check the space beneath the floorboards. A quick count, and the German would be out the door like a baying hound.

    Robbery had not been part of Lucinda's original plan. She had merely wanted to leave unmolested, carrying the little bit of money she had managed to hide from the prying eyes of her employer. The old bawd was as tight as a Gulf oyster with her pay, and it was simply happy circumstance that Lucinda had found the hidden cache and the opportunity to take it. Once she had secreted the coins in her own room, she gave herself only a few days to plan and execute her escape. To be caught thieving from Mrs. Landry would most likely bring an unending bath in the Trinity River.

    The clerk, who had been staring at her yellow boots, looked quickly back at her face and smiled broadly with the kind of come-on she had grown used to. The town men, even the dullards, seemed to size her up with telegraphic precision. Assessing his frayed coat and collar, she guessed the clerk would have been good for only about three dollars and, at most, thirty seconds of energetic pushing. She turned her head, nullifying him, and stared out the window.

    Within five minutes the coach arrived, and, after a hand up from the driver, she paid her fare and seated herself across from a gentleman who, she was pleased to discover, was a doctor traveling to Hillsboro. She immediately closed her eyes, hoping to sleep while discouraging conversation. At least, she thought, she could get proper care if felled by another bout of palsy while in his company.

    Four hours later, the coach halted in Dallas and the driver handed his two passengers down, telling them they could rest for an hour, avail themselves of food and drink, while the horses and driver were changed. They were also told that for the next leg of the journey, the driver would be accompanied by a shotgun companion; there were as many gunmen on the road to Hillsboro, the driver said, as there were “teats on a wild boar.”

    The doctor, who had not spoken a word to Lucinda for the whole of the time beyond the initial introductions, walked immediately to the public house nearest the coach. She watched him as he moved discourteously away and decided that he must be a Methodist, as a Baptist would have spent the greatest part of the trip staring at her bosom.

    Taking in the sight of pine buildings, rawboned in their newness and smelling of turpentine, Lucinda crossed the rutted street opposite the coach, carrying with her the carpetbag. In the nearby dry-goods store she purchased a cheap muslin nightgown and a comb. She then walked to the McClintock, a modest hotel at the far end of the street, and paid for two nights. She paused for a moment, and then her lips curled and she signed the registry Mrs. Landry.

    She ordered a cutlet and coffee to be sent to her room. When the meal came, she hungrily ate all of the beef, pushing aside what looked to be apples fried in lard. She finished her coffee, sipped at some water, and used the chamber pot. She laid the nightgown and comb on the coverlet and sat on the edge of the bed for a while, feeling almost well.

    She pulled two letters from her bag, both sent to her through the post office in Fort Worth. The first note read Come to the Lamplighter when you are able. I will leave word. Ever Yours, by the hour… She smiled and covered the note with her fingers before returning it to her bag. The second letter she did not open, knowing the words by heart, but she let it rest in her lap for a while. It was the letter offering her the position of schoolteacher in a settlement called Middle Bayou. The job would pay twenty-five dollars a month, provide her with a room, and would no doubt be close to the edge of the world: crude, forlorn, and mosquito-infested. She would be astonished if she hadn't contracted malaria within a few weeks.

    Having replaced the second letter, she changed her gray suit for the lighter cotton dress she had packed and pulled on the stout walking boots and the shawl. She then picked up the bag and walked downstairs, where she informed the hotel clerk that she would be back after dark, as she was going to have supper with her brother. She strolled the few blocks to the coach and found two additional passengers, as well as the doctor, waiting for the new driver to take up the baggage.

    Before she stepped onto the foot rail, she looked to the top of the coach, catching sight of the safety man seated on the driving board. He was cradling a double-barreled shotgun and leisurely smoking. He glanced at her, stubbed out the live ashes of the cheroot against the side of the coach, and gave her a mournful nod.

    Once the coach got under way, the dust from the road followed them for miles. Lucinda pictured the German arriving in town after dark, his horse lathered almost to glue. He would look for her, eventually finding his way to the hotel. There he would bribe, or bully, his way into the room she had rented. Seeing the nightgown and comb, he would sit on the bed, hopefully for most of the night, waiting for her to return, his fists clenching and unclenching. She had cast off the heavy travel clothes as well, leaving them scattered about the room; the yellow boots she had reluctantly pushed beneath the bed.


    Copyright © 2013 by Kathleen Kent

  • Why did you leave Salem behind? Or have you?
    Growing up, I heard a lot of stories from my mother about her New England Carrier family. But my father was a Texan, and I spent a good part of my childhood in Texas, reading Larry McMurtry, Cormac McCarthy and older writers such as J. Frank Dobie. In THE OUTCASTS I got to revisit the mythical heroes and villains of the Old West, but with a greater understanding of the violent historical events and challenging landscapes that helped shape the men and women of Reconstruction Era Texas. I still plan some day to return to my New England heritage and write a novel of a family member's abduction by Abanaki Indians in 1695.

    Why did you decide to set THE OUTCASTS in post-Civil War Texas, a departure from your two previous Puritan New England novels?
    Studying American and world history, I've always been as fascinated in the aftermath of a civil war as much as the conflict itself: how do people resurrect themselves from the chaos and violence of internal national conflict, recreating their lives after losing their property, their livelihoods and their families? This struggle always seems to bring out the very best, and the very worst, in people.

    What, if any, personal connections do you have with Texas and how did it influence your writing?
    I spent most of my formative years in Texas and loved westerns; books, movies and tall tales recounted through my dad's side of the family. There was a heroic, larger than life, quality to these tales, but also a dominant sense of impending violence. The vast expanse of land that was early Texas, with its extraordinarily difficult terrain, extremes of weather and episodes of human savagery, seemed to create a new kind of settler, unique in American history. As a writer I wanted to develop characters that reflected, and overcame, those struggles.

    What drew you to this era in Texas history and what role does the aftermath of the Civil War play in the story?
    1870 Texas was a time of brief stagnation—as though the Republic was holding its breath—before the explosive regeneration of manufacturing and farming and the renewed expansion of the railroads. The lack of gainful employment, the steady influx of immigrants, the release and relocation of former slaves and the lingering brutal effects of the war itself combined to create episodes of unlawful opportunism through gunplay. In 1869, the year before the novel begins, there were close to 800 acts of gun violence in Texas—10 times the rate of the rest of the country. Governor Davis created the Texas Sate Police force as way to protect and defend the peace.

    How much influence did actual historical events have in your novels? Did you find yourself doing a lot of research to write THE OUTCASTS?
    I usually spend several months researching my subject before I begin writing, and continue the research until the book is finished. A few of the true-life characters appearing in THE OUTCASTS are Sam Gorman, gentleman thief of New Orleans, Hattie Hamilton, famous brothel owner, and Charles Dickens, who does not make a personal appearance, but whose writing influences one of the main characters.

    Are the protagonists Lucinda Carter and Nate Cannon based on historical figures?
    Lucinda and Nate are composites of real life historical figures. The Civil War left many widows and unsupported women fending for themselves. Because there were so few options left to women on their own, prostitution became more prevalent following the conflict. Surprisingly, my research uncovered not only the soiled doves shunned by society, but also a number of strong-minded, independent business women who ran successful brothels on their own, and had, if only indirectly, real political and social clout. Nate is a kind of Percival character on a quest: innocent of the wider world, committed to justice and his own internal moral compass. He was part of a new order of policemen, most of them young, a few without wives and families, and unsullied by the Old Order.

    Lucinda is a prostitute who is fighting for a new life and love. Does she represent something larger about the late 19th century west?
    History has shown that fiercely independent women were often punished for not conforming to society's expectation of what a woman ought to be. Martha Carrier in THE HERETIC'S DAUGHTER was one example of a woman strong-willed woman jailed and executed for her defiance. Lucinda is another such rebellious woman, and although she takes a different course than Martha, she choses the path of an outsider to escape physical restraint and suffocating emotional confinement. As it turns out, the Reconstruction Era was comparatively more forgiving of women who took on non-traditional roles to survive in the social vacuum after the Civil War.

    What element does the pirate treasure of Middle Bayou play in the story?
    Greed is a driving force in the story. The idea that there may be pirate's treasure in Middle Bayou (now called the Armond Bayou Nature Preserve) is still a prevalent rumor in that part of Texas. People have been digging holes looking for gold since the 1820's, but—so far—no treasure has been unearthed.

    What's next?
    I've begun two new projects. The first is a historical novel set in a Western Pennsylvania mining town in 1910, and the hunt for missing children working in the mines. And the second is a modern-day crime novel based on a short story called Coincidences Can Kill You, published November 2013 in Dallas Noir.

  • Questions and topics for discussion

    1) Most of THE OUTCASTS revolves around the separate journeys that Lucinda and Nate take before their paths cross. Discuss the motivations that initially drive the two protagonists towards their goals?

    2) Lucinda's moral spectrum has many shades of grey. Dr. Tom sums her up with a question: "What makes you think a woman with any decency left would cleave to an evil man like McGill?" Is his assessment of Lucinda fair? Did you find yourself sympathizing with Lucinda or judging her? To what extent should we forgive her capacity for cold self-interest and even brutality?

    3) THE OUTCASTS takes place in Texas in the 1870s, not long after the Civil War. In what ways does the specter of the war haunt the story? How has it shaped the characters and their world?

    4) Nate's first encounter with Dr. Tom and Deerling is marked by distrust and disapproval of their questionable methods, but his relationship with both men evolves as they work together. What does Nate learn from these more seasoned rangers, and from being on the job? How would you describe the portrayal of male friendship in this novel?

    5) To what extent does Lucinda fit the mold of the classic 19th century female protagonist, and in what ways does she break it?

    6) Of all the people in Middle Bayou, Tobias is the first to see through Lucinda's assumed identity. Why doesn't he expose her?

    7) Why do you think this novel is called THE OUTCASTS? Which characters does this phrase describe, and why? What would it take for THE OUTCASTS to be "included," and what would they lose in the process?

    8) How does this book compare with other Westerns that you have read (or seen)? What themes does this novel share with them, and which does it reject or reimagine?

    9) Are any of the characters in THE OUTCASTS "good people," in your estimation? What qualifies as goodness in the universe of this novel? Which character (if any) do you consider the story's moral center, and why?

    10) Where do you see Lucinda and Nate ten years from where the book ends? Do you think that Lucinda has found redemption, and has Nate realized his dream raising horses in Oklahoma?

  • Alligator among the reeds in bayou country, southeast Texas

  • My father's pistol

  • My guide, and brother, Kevin "The Captain" Hickman

  • Ft. Smith, Arkansas, powder room

  • Fr. Smith, Arkansas, supply and munitions room

One Response

  1. Melissa Deur

    As president of the Friends of the UTA Library, I’d like to invite you to speak at one of our programs this fall–Sept. 5th would be ideal as you could kick off our new season. You’d talk to the Friends for about 35 minutes and then have a chance to sell your books while a reception takes place. Please contact me as soon as possible about this date or Oct. 10 or Nov. 7. Our meetings start at 7:30 pm in the Central Library on camps. My phone is 214-415-5003. I hope you ca come! Melissa Deur

Leave a Reply