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Wallace Swenson Books In Order

Publication Order of Journey to the White Clouds Books

Buell (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Laramie (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Slate Creek (2017) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Devil's Due (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Morgan's Pasture (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Pine Marten (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Wallace J. Swenson was an Idaho native and novelist that lived in the Upper Snake Valley. He started out as a United States Air Force officer before he became a full-time author. He wrote full time starting in 2007 until his death in 2015. He made his name when he published “Morgan’s Pasture” in 2010 which became his first commercial success. However, Swenson had been publishing long before this success and an excerpt from his third novel was the winner of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest that he presented in the Adult Short Story Class in 2002. He has won a ton of awards in the Idaho Writers League annual competitions for his novels, short fiction, poetry and articles. His fourth novel was a finalist for the 2004 PNWA contest.

Wallace Swenson’s writing was all about the investigation of the human spirit. He was influenced by the likes of Salinger, Ruark, Steinback, Hemingway, McCarthy, and McMurtry. These authors fueled his desire to convert his experiences into words. He started writing in 2001 and has since written more than ten novels. The first four novels he wrote were a saga that he set in Idaho, Nebraska, and Wyoming from 1860 to 1875. “Morgan’s Pasture” which was his fifth novel was a coming to age novel that he published with the Three Muses Press in 2010. The novel went on to become a highly popular novel receiving tons of five-star reviews on Amazon. He used to blog about his novels and writing in general on his website www.whitecloudliterary.com.

Wallace J. Swenson’s “Buell: Journey to the White Clouds” is set in 1873 and tells the story of a gunslinger named Buell that has been expelled from Fort Laramie. He picks himself up and teams up with a veteran prospector named Simon and the two go to find adventure in the Idaho territory. Buell Mace is a man with two personalities. Most of the time he is cool-headed, patient, rational, laconic and at a lower level susceptible to the passions and appetites that drive other people. Sometimes he feels a lot of guilt for killing his mother during childbirth. It is not long before the guilt drives him to violence and this leads to a parting of ways with Simon Steele his old friend. Out in the wilderness, he meets Arley Hill a grimy and ugly man who has also been kicked to the curb. They join forces and their journey to Idaho is punctuated by violence as Buell seems to believe that killing is the best way to resolve any conflict. Out in Idaho, they find Emma Traen, a maternal saloonkeeper fighting for control of a gold mine with Piers Modine her partner. Emma works with Yung Wing a Chinese organizer who can find all the Chinese workers they need to mine the gold. To promote his interests, Modine works with a disgraced doctor named Farris Waystead who is skilled with the knife despite his age. Buell is a tough man but in the presence of Emma he feels an overwhelming attraction and combined with his festering guilt things could get out of control. Sooner rather than later Piers and Buell may have to go against each other. What follows is an unexpected twist full of violence.

“Laramie” the second novel of the” Journey to the White Clouds” series is the prequel to the first novel of the series. Buell had to leave home since he had every reason to flee while Simon found no reason to stay. Staying at a wayside inn near Fort Laramie, Wyoming, there are practically no laws and even fewer consequences for those that break the few that have been set. Simon is employed at the house as an enforcer given his violent nature while Simon is in charge of supplies. Simon is determined not to let go of the morals he had been taught by his parents and also hangs on to the memory of the fiancé he had left behind. His sense of morality often results in conflict with the more volatile and pragmatic Buell. The novel portrays life on the frontier in the mid-19th century where the US Army was in charge of setting the rules and enforcing them against the lawless men determined not to submit to anyone. People were interested in pleasure and Simon has been employed to ensure they get what they want. At the beginning of the story, he finds comfort and advice from three people: a woman that cooks for the saloon, a Shoshoni Indian and an old prospector. However, he slowly loses his moral compass and becomes angrier which culminates in killing a man that he knew well and trusted. Even though Buell had always fought with him over his morals, he would never let him take the rap for one crime in anger. Buell bribes witnesses to lay the blame on him and then convinces Simon to leave town while he travels north.

Swenson’s “Slate Creek” follows Simon who feels the guilt of succumbing to an immoral life. He gets advice from Walks Fast and Tay Prescott his two mentors who think he should go to Idaho if he wants to get back his sense of worth. After killing a bartender in Wyoming and then denigrating his friend Buell for his bad influence, he felt that he needed to make things right with the world and his friend. Buell had left without a word after taking the fall, their friendship seemingly over. Things had gotten even worse for Simon when the girl he had left behind at home sends him what he thinks is a rejection though the letter could have had a double meaning. He makes the determination that he needs to learn about give and take as he is convinced that is what life is about. Heading to Slate Creek, Simon meets plain ordinary citizens and thinks he has found his level once again. But he is too trusting and naïve such that he soon finds himself in trouble. The self-serving muleskinner who had offered to assist him to settle down turns out to be who he said he was and has ulterior motives. Simon discovers Reed’s con when it is too late but he is determined to turn his life around and fights hard against the rage and anger that tells him to retaliate.

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