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Hombrecito's War Still Rages

2006 Spur Finalist (PDF) Best First Novel
2007 New Mexico Finalist, Best Historical Fiction

In a case creating bitter acrimony that has lasted into modern times, Albert Fountain - tough frontiersman, well-known territorial Republican, newspaper publisher, respected attorney - and his eight-year-old son, Henry - vanished on a cold winter's day in 1896, near White Sands, New Mexico Territory. Skilled trackers searched for them for weeks, but they were never found. Oliver Lee, a leading Democrat and major political enemy, was accused of murdering Albert and Henry. In a spectacular eighteen-day trial, in 1899, that included over sixty witnesses and coteries of powerful attorneys, the jury, after deliberating eight minutes, declared Lee "not guilty."

Hombrecito's War assumes Henry Fountain survived his father's murder, and tells of the Fountains' disappearance after Henry has spent nearly fifty years as Dr. Henry Grace. Henry had little hope for survival hiding from his father's murderers in the winter desert. If Albert's murderers didn't kill him, exposure or hungry coyotes would. Then his luck turned. Yellow Boy, a Mescalero Apache sharpshooter, found him hiding under a tumbleweed in a mesquite thicket. The Apache carried the delirious and bleeding boy to Rufus Pike, an old recluse ranching in the Organ Mountains. Rufus hid Henry, and nursed him back to health. Yellow Boy and Rufus molded Henry into a strong, tough young man, teaching him how to survive in the desert like an Apache and to shoot with deadly accuracy from incredibly long distances with a Sharps rifle. The impatient boy, eager for revenge, attempted to kill the leader of Albert's murderers with a long-range shot from the Sharps and missed. In self-defense, Henry, Yellow Boy, and Rufus began a merciless, bloody retribution for Albert's murder. Ultimately confronting Oliver Lee, Henry was forced to choose between the satisfaction of revenge and the wisdom of justice.

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Reviews

"... I was especially impressed with the long awaited chapter entitled "Ambush". My chest was pounding as fourteen-year-old Henry Fountain looked down the barrel of his big Sharps rifle and carefully pulled the set-trigger. If a story can my heart going, I brand it a darn good one! (Michael's novel has virtually no swearing in it ... or sex ... neither will be missed) So this fall or winter, build yourself a fire, sit back, and enjoy another SASS western. As you all know, many of our organization can do more than shoot, and the books being written by SASS authors are well worth the read. Congratulations, Michael on a great first western novel."
~ Tyrel Sackett, SASS #506,
Cowboy Chronicle, Jan. 2007

"This book is a fantastic read, well worth the money for the amount of entertainment it provides. It has an element of the old west, and shows interesting contrasts between then and today...how far we have come yet how close we remain. It has well-developed characters and is based in part on a true story, so the story line is very realistic. I found that the book kept my interest ...I couldn't wait to find out what happened next. In addition to the story itself, the writing style is entertaining. The author uses unique phrases that paint enjoyable mental images that I have never experienced before. I keep referring back to certain sections to reread these phrases. I think there is more to the story, and hope there is a sequel. I'll buy it as soon as it comes out!"
~ Robert B. Seagraves

"Mike Farmer is an engineer and writer of technical books and papers. I had no idea he was also an outstanding fiction writer. As a reader of western history (cowboy era) and fiction almost exclusively I found this book to be an interesting mix of both. I am familiar with the historical event on which the story is based and I have traveled the geographical area many times. The narrative paints clear and accurate scenes and the reader becomes so engrossed in the story that he wants to enter the story and talk to the characters. I found myself wanting to give advice to the characters in anticipation of what may happen next. Sometimes it would have been good! A difficult book to put down"
~ Carolyn Davis

"All true westerners know that when the legend becomes fact, you print the legend. Now I don’t know what became of Albert Farmer and his eight-year-old son in New Mexico Territory on that cold winter’s day of 1896, and I’m not sure whether W. Michael Farmer’s Hombrecito’s War is what exactly happened… But it should have been. This is a period western that really gives you the creak of leather and the smell of gunpowder, period"
~ Craig Johnson

"Hombrecito's War is a superlative read. Michael Farmer has created excellent historical action fiction with true-to-life characters. Set in beautifully described New Mexico, the story unfolds from the turbulent early 1900s to modern times. The time transitions are a fascinating interplay between Henry, a physician telling the story of his early life to Roberta, his long time nurse, as they race down highway 70 across the Tularosa Basin to help his Apache surrogate father, Yellow Boy. Yellow Boy saved young Henry's life after Henry's father was murdered and the killers attempted to kill Henry. Yellow Boy, a warrior, and Rufus Pike, a tough buffalo hunter/cattle man, who is self-educated, raise Henry. The interplay of the three characters is fascinating as Yellow Boy and Rufus educate Henry in the rugged ways of a warrior, survival, book learning, and help find the revenge that drives his life. Interspersed with the relationships are vivid descriptions of New Mexico, turbulent depictions of often-violent politics, tender love and caring, and Apache warrior life. Hombrecito's War is a powerful story, a true western myth."
~ Larry Beideman, Ph.D. "Larry"



"A well written story about revenge in the Southwest territory portraying the life and times of a true Apache Warrior adopting a young boy and teaching him the skills of survival as an Apache in the late 1800's. The author depicts actual places of the terrain with modern and historical aspects it puts the reader in specific parts of the territory with vivid reality. I would highly recommend this book to readers of historical fiction."
~ Liz Chavez, Tribal Librarian,
Mescalero Apache Tribe


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