West of the Gospel: A Tale of the Fewkes Legacy
W. John MacGregor
“MacGregor writes with a distinct, persuasive 1910 storytelling voice.
A cryptic Western tale of identity and redemption set on the Idaho
frontier, this tale from W. John MacGregor plays out amidst the
catastrophic Big Burn of August, 1910: devastating and terrifying
wildfires which destroyed millions of acres, burned scores of towns,
and killed nearly one hundred fire-fighters and civilians.
The hero of the story is a ranch hand whose coming of age during the
final throes of the Old West has given him several identities: Tad
Montgomery, the boy whose father was a notorious strike-breaker and
killer; Thaddeus Roe, the law-abiding and sometimes heroic young man
whose parents were brutally slain by the lawless Fewkes brothers; and
Three Card Monte, the desperado (so the legends say) that he has now
The tension produced by these three identities comes to a head as the
fires of August, 1910, flare to epic proportions. Can the principles by
which Tad has lived see him through this trial by fire? Is he defined
by the sins of his earthly father? The answer is held not so much in
the historical facts, such as they are; rather, the answer is in the
heart of the reader.
Inspired by a genuine mystery which falls out of the accounts of the
Big Burn, this tale of rough men in rougher times leaves the reader
with no easy outs, and there is no omniscient narrator to serve as a
guide. Where does the truth lie? Maybe in a place just West of the
Gospel... and just East of Eden.
West of the Gospel, by W. John
MacGregor, is the first entry in a series of tales based on the legends
of the Fewkes Brothers, outlaws of the Pacific Northwest.