Cover image for The tentmaker
The tentmaker
Reynolds, Clay, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Berkley Books, [2002]

Physical Description:
389 pages ; 23 cm
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Western
X Adult Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



When the Civil War ended, Gil Hooley journeyed out West, figuring that if there was any market left for his hand-crafted tents, it would be on the wide open frontier. But when his wagon breaks down in the middle of nowhere, a community begins to grow around him, one tent at a time, until Gil finds himself the unlikely leader-and defender-of his own town.
Larry McMurtry called his work ambitious and absorbing, and Dee Brown acclaimed it as superb. Now Clay Reynolds tells the tale of a man who discovers that even if a place wasn't your destination, it might still be your destiny.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Written with brio and fidelity to historical detail, Reynolds's sixth novel (after Monuments) is a rough-riding, idiosyncratic western set in the 1880s. Reynolds loves quirky characters, impossible fixes and odd plot twists, and he has packed a wagonload of each into this colorful horse opera. Gil Hooley is a St. Louis tent maker, an obscure man intent on doing as little as possible. Stranded alone with a broken wagon full of tent-making materials on the North Texas prairie, Hooley figures he will just starve and that will be the end of him-for he is nearly helpless as a pioneer. Chance encounters, however, save him from starvation only to catapult him into situations he finds increasingly perturbing. After he impulsively rescues Mino, a non-English-speaking immigrant carpenter, from the hands of a deranged marshal, he is saddled with the lawman's widow, Margot, as a business partner. Together, the three of them open a saloon and whorehouse to service the local cowboys. Smitten with Margot, Hooley makes a success of the business, but he is dogged by his misbegotten reputation as a pistolero. Meanwhile, a gang of outlaws led by fat, malodorous Jefferson Tay rob, rape, murder and burn their way across Texas, Kansas and the Oklahoma Territory until a prairie lowlife tells them about the easy pickings at the whorehouse tent city called Hoolian. During a fierce winter storm, Hooley, never one to face a challenge, must finally make a momentous decision, and the result surprises everyone but Margot. Reynolds is in top form with this graphic, galloping yarn of frontier justice. (Dec. 3) Forecast: Reynolds's western stands out in the genre for its exotic tent city setting and unusual characters. This is a title with sleeper potential. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved