Review: Shep in the Victorio War by Don DeNevi
Review: Shep in the Victorio War by Don DeNevi

Shep is back in the sequel to "Faithful Shep."

"Shep in the Victorio War," by Don DeNevi, continues Shep's tale, his owners William Wiswall and Joseph Andrews, and the Apache chief Victorio.

A band of Mescalero and Warm Springs Apaches led by Victorio has left their reservation and supports itself by raiding. Cattle, horses, and wagons loaded with supplies were targets.

The previous book, Faithful Shep, ends with Wiswall and Andrews recovering Shep from deep within Apache territory. The recovery is accomplished with the assistance of a Texas Ranger company and their scouts. While recovering Shep, the characters confront Victorio and his warriors, who let Shep and his rescuers escape.

The sequel, "Shep in the Victorio War," opens with Wiswall and Andrews informally connected to the Texas Rangers Company A, Frontier Battalion group that rescued Shep. The two men are helping out until they decide what to do next. The two men decide to move to California. Still, their travels are interrupted as the Texas Rangers mobilize to hunt down Victorio and his band.

The men and the Texas Rangers join what became known as the Victorio War. A three-year struggle lasting from 1879 through 1881 involved finding Victorio's band and either forcing them back to the reservation or killing them.

DeNevi takes readers into the end game of that war. The Texas Rangers Company A participates in the chase for Victorio in Texas and later at the local government's invitation into Mexico. Although mostly told from the main character's and Texas Ranger's viewpoint, DeNevi also shows the conflict from Victorio's view. Victorio and his band left the reservation because they were not fed as promised, and the reservation was disease-ridden.

The story becomes a tragedy as both sides believe they can justify actions leading to the destruction of the other side. Neither side will back down. Along the way, Wiswell, Andrews, and Shep meet a constellation of notable historical figures who participated in the campaign.

"Shep and the Victorio War" is an easy read for young adults and up. It is a brief and memorable read.