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The Rainbow Trail: By Zane Grey : Illustrated & Unabridged

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The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook The Rainbow Trail, also known as The Desert Crucible, is Western author Zane Grey's sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage. Originally published under the title The Rainbow Trail in 1915, it was re-edited and re-released in recent years as The Desert Crucible with the ori The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook The Rainbow Trail, also known as The Desert Crucible, is Western author Zane Grey's sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage. Originally published under the title The Rainbow Trail in 1915, it was re-edited and re-released in recent years as The Desert Crucible with the original manuscript that Grey submitted to publishers. The novel takes place ten years after events of Riders of the Purple Sage. The wall to Surprise Valley has broken, and Jane Withersteen is forced to choose between Lassiter's life and Fay Larkin's marriage to a Mormon. Both novels are notable for their protagonists' mild opposition to Mormon polygamy, but in The Rainbow Trail this theme is treated more explicitly. The plots of both books revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture: events in Riders of the Purple Sage are centered on the struggle of a Mormon woman who sacrifices her wealth and social status to avoid becoming a junior wife of the head of a local church, while The Rainbow Trail contrasts the older Mormons with the rising generation of Mormon women who will not tolerate polygamy and Mormon men who do not seek it.


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The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook The Rainbow Trail, also known as The Desert Crucible, is Western author Zane Grey's sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage. Originally published under the title The Rainbow Trail in 1915, it was re-edited and re-released in recent years as The Desert Crucible with the ori The Rainbow Trail by Zane Grey How is this book unique? Illustrations Included Free Audiobook The Rainbow Trail, also known as The Desert Crucible, is Western author Zane Grey's sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage. Originally published under the title The Rainbow Trail in 1915, it was re-edited and re-released in recent years as The Desert Crucible with the original manuscript that Grey submitted to publishers. The novel takes place ten years after events of Riders of the Purple Sage. The wall to Surprise Valley has broken, and Jane Withersteen is forced to choose between Lassiter's life and Fay Larkin's marriage to a Mormon. Both novels are notable for their protagonists' mild opposition to Mormon polygamy, but in The Rainbow Trail this theme is treated more explicitly. The plots of both books revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture: events in Riders of the Purple Sage are centered on the struggle of a Mormon woman who sacrifices her wealth and social status to avoid becoming a junior wife of the head of a local church, while The Rainbow Trail contrasts the older Mormons with the rising generation of Mormon women who will not tolerate polygamy and Mormon men who do not seek it.

30 review for The Rainbow Trail: By Zane Grey : Illustrated & Unabridged

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    After reading a few classic Westerns, I’ve figured out why the heroes have been reflective, thoughtful, intelligent characters. It’s so that the author can put in a lot of description, mostly of the land. The terrain and vegetation descriptions set this apart from other non-genre novels - Grey describes like he is there, so that you could picture the cinematic version of the story. There wasn’t as much going on in this one compared to “Riders of the Purple Sage”, and multiple bad guys exit with After reading a few classic Westerns, I’ve figured out why the heroes have been reflective, thoughtful, intelligent characters. It’s so that the author can put in a lot of description, mostly of the land. The terrain and vegetation descriptions set this apart from other non-genre novels - Grey describes like he is there, so that you could picture the cinematic version of the story. There wasn’t as much going on in this one compared to “Riders of the Purple Sage”, and multiple bad guys exit with but a whimper. But Grey didn’t seem to be adding words unnecessarily, and the ending was surprisingly drawn out, instead of cut short like some other older Westerns that I’ve read – presumably because a word count was reached. I am looking forward to reading more.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Koen

    Rosy clouds in their magnificent splendor, majestic mountains in pale moonlight or wafts of morning mist ... that sort of embellishment is pasted all over his paragraphs - a dollop of repetitious, utterly boring, semi-poetic, adolescent, three-penny-novel goo. Girlie stuff. Yuck.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    This is the (much anticipated by me) sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, but set about sixteen years in the future and following (mostly) a different set of characters. Having escaped Utah and those pesky Mormons in the first book, Vinters and Bess befriend our main character and tell him about the hidden valley Lassiter, Jane, and Fay are trapped in. Our main character, for reasons of his own, goes in search of the hidden valley with thoughts of rescuing Fay like a knight in shining armour. Th This is the (much anticipated by me) sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, but set about sixteen years in the future and following (mostly) a different set of characters. Having escaped Utah and those pesky Mormons in the first book, Vinters and Bess befriend our main character and tell him about the hidden valley Lassiter, Jane, and Fay are trapped in. Our main character, for reasons of his own, goes in search of the hidden valley with thoughts of rescuing Fay like a knight in shining armour. This book follows his journey across the desert lands of the USA during his search. This story had a different feel to it than Riders of the Purple Sage. It was still an adventure, but this one was more about the friendships made along the way and the air of mystery regarding Surprise Valley. I enjoyed it, even if I didn't quite like the main character full heartedly. Zane Grey writes a complex characters with a troubled past really well, but I think he really missed the mark with John Shefford. The adventure he was on to find the valley was as much to rescue Fay (and company) as well as to "find himself" after he was run out of his hometown for refusing to be a preacher. He lacked the inner turmoil the author's main characters usually have. And I really didn't understand a lot of the motives behind his actions/choices in the book - he seemed a blunderer most of the times, content to let his friends further the plot. For a man happy to tote a gun and shoot bandits who try to steal from his employer, he really had a huge issue protecting Fay from someone who meant her real harm because he didn't want to commit murder. It made no sense to me. On the other hand, I really enjoyed the other characters in this book. Fay especially was a delight! Strong, both physically and mentally. And the real heroes of the stories were the Indian and the Mormon. The overall mystery about what happened in Surprise Valley with Jane, Lassiter, and Fay was wrapped up nicely. The epilogue made my eyes water - it was so sweet with the horses and everything.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The Rainbow Trail, a worthy sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage".John Shefford ,a former minister,(he was told to leave by the church , for being a suspected atheist !)meets Bern and Elizabeth Venters in Illinois.They tell him an unbelievable story of Lassiter, Jane Withersteen and Fay Larkin ,their "adopted" daughter .Stuck in Surprise Valley for 12 long years!Strangely Shefford falls in love with Fay ,without ever seeing her.He needs someone to love.Arriving in Arizona, John encounters an Ind The Rainbow Trail, a worthy sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage".John Shefford ,a former minister,(he was told to leave by the church , for being a suspected atheist !)meets Bern and Elizabeth Venters in Illinois.They tell him an unbelievable story of Lassiter, Jane Withersteen and Fay Larkin ,their "adopted" daughter .Stuck in Surprise Valley for 12 long years!Strangely Shefford falls in love with Fay ,without ever seeing her.He needs someone to love.Arriving in Arizona, John encounters an Indian girl being attacked, by a missionary ,in a trading post.Shefford rescues her,this makes him a brother to her brother!This Navajo ,Nas Ta Bega, teaches the tenderfoot the ways of the West and saves the paleface's life, several times. John continues searching for the valley without success. But by good fortune, Shefford finds Fay ,under a different name ,in a secluded village of sealed wives. She shows him the hidden vale in Utah and rescues her "parents " and a big bag of gold, also.A problem arises, when he makes an enemy with Shaun, the Indian outlaw. Running away from Shaun's gang,after a puzzling killing, his friend Nas Ta Bega shows Shefford ,The Rainbow Bridge.A natural rock formation ,in a remote area.The highlight in the novel, is a trip down the Colorado River's treacherous rapids ,with his new friends.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ralph

    This is a sequel to the classic Riders of the Purple Sage, though the main characters from that book do not enter the plot till very near the end. Like the first book, this book is also a romance set in the west, but much of the time the characters and the plot are subordinate to the setting, and even when the characters and their actions take center stage, they have been changed through their experiences in the "crucible of the desert." Zane Grey wrote of the land through which he traveled and This is a sequel to the classic Riders of the Purple Sage, though the main characters from that book do not enter the plot till very near the end. Like the first book, this book is also a romance set in the west, but much of the time the characters and the plot are subordinate to the setting, and even when the characters and their actions take center stage, they have been changed through their experiences in the "crucible of the desert." Zane Grey wrote of the land through which he traveled and the people he met. Though much of the characterization is out of step with modern expectations and sensibilities, there is yet a strong sense of verisimilitude to them. The characters tend to fall into three categories -- Mormons, Gentiles (any white who is not Mormon), and Indians, and among those three groups we have characters who range from very noble and self-sacrificing to extremely evil and destructive. John Shefford has come from the East, wide-eyed and naive, and very quickly discovers that the sensibilities of his cultivated upbringing are definite detriments to his survival in the Canyon Country of the West. Having heard the story of Lassiter, one of the protagonists in Riders of the Purple Sage, he is searching for the man, as well as young Fay Larkin. That search exposes him to experiences that burn away the chaff of his former life and reveal his true character, teaching him the meaning of truth, friendship, loyalty, honor and love, traits he thought he understood, but really did not. This is an extremely enjoyable book, and those who come to it expecting nothing more than a standard Western or "horse opera" will be pleasantly surprised.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Elinor

    This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage has an even more salacious story line than the first book. In Riders, a young Mormon woman has to escape the clutches of her controlling church elders. In this book, which takes place fifteen years later, the state of Utah has outlawed plural marriages, but an entire village of beautiful young "sealed" wives (not legal wives, but plural wives sealed by God) are hidden in the mountains, and visited in the dead of night by gray-bearded elders. Yuck! The her This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage has an even more salacious story line than the first book. In Riders, a young Mormon woman has to escape the clutches of her controlling church elders. In this book, which takes place fifteen years later, the state of Utah has outlawed plural marriages, but an entire village of beautiful young "sealed" wives (not legal wives, but plural wives sealed by God) are hidden in the mountains, and visited in the dead of night by gray-bearded elders. Yuck! The hero has to save one of them, a character from the first book, in a hair-raising escape, aided by a good guy Mormon and a noble indigenous brave who is the real hero of this novel, in my opinion. The action moves along smartly, and the landscape descriptions are wonderful.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Janet

    Once in awhile you come upon a book or books that speaks to you on a different level then all of the others and that is what "The Riders of the Purple Sage" and "The Rainbow Trail" have done to me. The descriptions of the vastness and beauty of the American West along with its history and romance told by a true artist is a combination that is hard to recover from. I will need a day or so to absorb all of this before I can let go and begin another book. Zane Grey was a true artist and a must read Once in awhile you come upon a book or books that speaks to you on a different level then all of the others and that is what "The Riders of the Purple Sage" and "The Rainbow Trail" have done to me. The descriptions of the vastness and beauty of the American West along with its history and romance told by a true artist is a combination that is hard to recover from. I will need a day or so to absorb all of this before I can let go and begin another book. Zane Grey was a true artist and a must read for lovers of the written word.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    What a lovely continuation to Riders of The Purple Sage. A disgraced minister heads to the desert to find himself and a girl named Fay Larkin that in his mind will be his salvation. In that beautiful desert, he finds love, loyalty, friendship and himself. The friendship between Shefford and Nas Ta Bega alone made the story a five star read. Again, I love a good bromance. I was a little upset by how queasy Shefford was over Fay killing Waggoneer, but it all righted itself. Jane's horse still knowing What a lovely continuation to Riders of The Purple Sage. A disgraced minister heads to the desert to find himself and a girl named Fay Larkin that in his mind will be his salvation. In that beautiful desert, he finds love, loyalty, friendship and himself. The friendship between Shefford and Nas Ta Bega alone made the story a five star read. Again, I love a good bromance. I was a little upset by how queasy Shefford was over Fay killing Waggoneer, but it all righted itself. Jane's horse still knowing her was a lovely sentimental touch.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Cretacci

    I loved it! Perfect book for a perfect time in my life. I was visiting Arizona and the great red canyons and sunsets while reading this book! Impeccabile descriptions. Interesting story line. The timeless theme of one man’s search for meaning in life, and the Mormon friend and Noble Navajo that stick closer than a brother. Mormons, secret wives, the vanishing Navajo Nation and action add to the interest of this story. The book was written in 1915 by Zane Grey who is considered the father of the west I loved it! Perfect book for a perfect time in my life. I was visiting Arizona and the great red canyons and sunsets while reading this book! Impeccabile descriptions. Interesting story line. The timeless theme of one man’s search for meaning in life, and the Mormon friend and Noble Navajo that stick closer than a brother. Mormons, secret wives, the vanishing Navajo Nation and action add to the interest of this story. The book was written in 1915 by Zane Grey who is considered the father of the western stories. A good read.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Lovely sequel to Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage." Twelve years later a young, disillusioned, ex-preacher in Illinois, hears about the wonderful secret canyon where a couple with their young foster daughter had fled to for safety, knowing they could not likely get out ever again without help from outside. He is enthralled with the idea that he might find that canyon and bring the girl and her family back out into the world. He heads out West and, without any experience, journeys into the unfor Lovely sequel to Grey's "Riders of the Purple Sage." Twelve years later a young, disillusioned, ex-preacher in Illinois, hears about the wonderful secret canyon where a couple with their young foster daughter had fled to for safety, knowing they could not likely get out ever again without help from outside. He is enthralled with the idea that he might find that canyon and bring the girl and her family back out into the world. He heads out West and, without any experience, journeys into the unforgiving desert to fulfill this quest. He links up with a wise Indian chief who had been kidnapped as a child, with friendly traders, and an unconventional Mormon. Fight scenes, chase scenes, gun battles, plus treacherous horse and burro treks abound. Beautiful descriptions of the wild desert and Grand Canyon River. Includes a concept I had never heard about among the Mormons, called "sealed wives," where "secondary" wives and their children were all hustled into a hidden village outside of Utah, and visited by their "husbands" occasionally overnight. Very sad, if it was true. Originally published in 1915, I listened to this book as a free download from LibriVox.org, read by a superb reader.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Robert

    Not as beautiful and thoroughly delectable a work as Riders of the Purple Sage. But notwithstanding this, The Rainbow Trail is still well worth a read; for Zane Grey’s beautiful prose and - whilst not as powerful and haunting as the endless sage slopes of its prequel - the beautiful imagery, which seems to be a fairly unique trademark of his. Some of the places in his books stick with me as though they were real places that I have visited. This is certainly no mean feat, and something which no o Not as beautiful and thoroughly delectable a work as Riders of the Purple Sage. But notwithstanding this, The Rainbow Trail is still well worth a read; for Zane Grey’s beautiful prose and - whilst not as powerful and haunting as the endless sage slopes of its prequel - the beautiful imagery, which seems to be a fairly unique trademark of his. Some of the places in his books stick with me as though they were real places that I have visited. This is certainly no mean feat, and something which no other author that I have read has been able to pull off. The only downside to this is that I sometimes feel that Grey, perhaps exulting and delighting in his remarkable ability in this area, sometimes goes overboard in describing every landscape down to smallest little detail which can make his novels feel a little slow in places.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gingerspice Obrien

    The book is not as well paced or intense as Riders of the Purple Sage. Shefford is no Lassiter. He too often gets lost in his own dream world and needs others to snap him out of it. He is more a hero by accident and by the setup by others. I was sorry that Lassiter was portrayed as old and frail. I was hoping for at least one good gunfight where he could shine. I thought Fay Larkin was portrayed well, (wished she had really done the deed). Jane Withersteen was portrayed as just a shadow of her f The book is not as well paced or intense as Riders of the Purple Sage. Shefford is no Lassiter. He too often gets lost in his own dream world and needs others to snap him out of it. He is more a hero by accident and by the setup by others. I was sorry that Lassiter was portrayed as old and frail. I was hoping for at least one good gunfight where he could shine. I thought Fay Larkin was portrayed well, (wished she had really done the deed). Jane Withersteen was portrayed as just a shadow of her former self. I thought the new generation of Mormons and the exploited Indians were also well protrayed.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I love Zane Grey, but this one far outshines most of his books. The descriptions of the canyons and the river and the tension of the adventures were so exciting, I couldn't wait to finish the book, and yet I hated to say good bye to the characters. This is my second reading of the story, and it was better this time! I was so happy that Lassiter and Jane got out, and so glad the Mormon religion has changed their practices of "sealed wives". Horrible. I think Zane liked the Mormons, but hated some I love Zane Grey, but this one far outshines most of his books. The descriptions of the canyons and the river and the tension of the adventures were so exciting, I couldn't wait to finish the book, and yet I hated to say good bye to the characters. This is my second reading of the story, and it was better this time! I was so happy that Lassiter and Jane got out, and so glad the Mormon religion has changed their practices of "sealed wives". Horrible. I think Zane liked the Mormons, but hated some of their ways.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    I loved this book. I was so fascinated by the author's descriptions that our next trip was planned around this exciting landmark in Northern Arizona. We took a boat trip on Lake Powell and hiked from the landing to the site of this natural bridge. The story itself was fascinating, being the culmination years after the end of "Rider's of the Purple Sage." It had a mysterious quality to the story. I could read these two books time and again. I loved this book. I was so fascinated by the author's descriptions that our next trip was planned around this exciting landmark in Northern Arizona. We took a boat trip on Lake Powell and hiked from the landing to the site of this natural bridge. The story itself was fascinating, being the culmination years after the end of "Rider's of the Purple Sage." It had a mysterious quality to the story. I could read these two books time and again.

  15. 5 out of 5

    reta durbin

    Yesteryears reading, revived! Picturesque, soul searching, romantic, mysterious, educational, enlightening, fascinating plot that kept me reading for several hours, and hating to lay it down even when I knew I must!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Eric

    3.5 stars. Better than the first, but Grey seems to spend more time on descriptions of the terrain than on a story. I will give Mr. Zane Grey a break for now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Faith Burnside

    TRIGGER WARNING: RELIGIOUS TRAUMA AND MORMONISM A very good end to the saga.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jen Hirt

    As you all know from my earlier post, I'm reading hundred-year-old westerns because this summer's vacation crossed paths with Zane Grey's homestead in Lackawaxen, PA. His house on the Delaware River is fantastic Americana (his writing space is perfectly preserved, down to the rugs and books and custom Hopi paintings done right on the wall). His grave nearby is quiet, mixed in with resting spots of Revolutionary War fatalities (the Minisink Battleground, just down the road). The museum is free, a As you all know from my earlier post, I'm reading hundred-year-old westerns because this summer's vacation crossed paths with Zane Grey's homestead in Lackawaxen, PA. His house on the Delaware River is fantastic Americana (his writing space is perfectly preserved, down to the rugs and books and custom Hopi paintings done right on the wall). His grave nearby is quiet, mixed in with resting spots of Revolutionary War fatalities (the Minisink Battleground, just down the road). The museum is free, and the delightful young park ranger told us that she reads up on Grey every summer so she can be helpful. Good job, young people of today! But those three things were, I think, better than this book. It should be called The Black and White Trail instead, because all the villains and good guys (and gals) are portrayed in very black and white, stereotypical terms. There are the Good Mormons and the Bad Mormons and the Very Bad Mormons. There are good Navajo and bad mixed breeds. There are valleys and trails and sage, etc etc etc. All the women are helpless. The dialogue is particularly hard to stomach in 2014 (the Navajo say "How.") I skimmed it, got to the part that resolved the cliffhanger, enjoyed those few pages, and called it quits. The single redeeming sentence is on page 138 of my edition, and it is a wonderful idiom that I want to research: Withers is talking to Shefford about Waggoner, and Withers describes Waggoner like this: "They don't call him elder or bishop. But I bet he's some pumpkins. He never had any use for me or any Gentile." It's the phrase "he's some pumpkins" that delights me, and I thank Zane Grey for it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, is another classic western romance/adventure. A massive landslide has opened up Surprise Valley where Jane Withersteen, Jim Lassiter and young Fay Larkin were locked up for more than a decade. A cruel Mormon has coerced Fay into becoming a secondary wife by threatening Jane and Jim. But we have a new protagonist to the rescue, John Shefford, who failed as a minister in Illinois, lost his faith and has now come west chasing a vision of Surprise Valley. Be This sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage, is another classic western romance/adventure. A massive landslide has opened up Surprise Valley where Jane Withersteen, Jim Lassiter and young Fay Larkin were locked up for more than a decade. A cruel Mormon has coerced Fay into becoming a secondary wife by threatening Jane and Jim. But we have a new protagonist to the rescue, John Shefford, who failed as a minister in Illinois, lost his faith and has now come west chasing a vision of Surprise Valley. Bern and Bess Venters, who escaped at the end of Riders, have now settled in Illinois and they've told Shefford all about Surprise Valley and what happened there. As he follows his quest, Shefford ends up in a Mormon village where extra wives have been secreted in defiance of the law against polygamy. It takes a very long time for him to actually get to Surprise Valley. There's a whole lot of description and romantic writing, as with Riders, but some key differences. On the plus side, Shefford is a more complex character who changes over time. Although Mormons are also villains here, Zane Grey depicts a couple of them as noble human beings, willing to stand against religious authority to help Shefford. There's also a good depiction of the Navajo who adopts Shefford as his brother. On the negative side, Withersteen and Lassiter are sad cardboard cutouts and the bad guys are caricatures, pretty easily dispatched. The final scenes are the best, especially the wild raft ride.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    Just finished reading the book “THE RAINBOW TRAIL” which is the sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, thus (BOOK 2) by ZANE GREY. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by JIM ROBERTS. Originally published in 1915, The Rainbow Trail is the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (also a Bison Book). At the end of that famous novel, a huge boulder had rolled down to shut off the entrance to Surprise Valley, leaving Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and little Fay Larkin to a singu Just finished reading the book “THE RAINBOW TRAIL” which is the sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE, thus (BOOK 2) by ZANE GREY. I read this book while listening to the audible version narrated by JIM ROBERTS. Originally published in 1915, The Rainbow Trail is the sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (also a Bison Book). At the end of that famous novel, a huge boulder had rolled down to shut off the entrance to Surprise Valley, leaving Lassiter, Jane Withersteen, and little Fay Larkin to a singular fate. Twenty years later a lanky Illinois preacher named John Shefford, disillusioned with the narrow-mindedness of his congregation, appears in Arizona. At a “sealed-wife” village, where Mormons hide the practice of polygamy from the federal government, he picks up the trail of the grown-up Fay. Thus begins an exciting story of captivity, treachery, and last-minute escape. Willie and I were so excited to find that there was a sequel to “RIDERS OF THE PURPLE SAGE”.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Dianne Shaw

    The best western I have read! This rating reflects the genius of the author in writing a thoughtful, exciting, and searching story. John Shefford was a man who lost his faith in the narrow confines of Christianity and Grey did an excellent job of winding his journey to find peace in the pain of rejection around every exciting bend of the wild west in which he rode and every experience he had along the way.

  22. 5 out of 5

    David

    Sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage", Grey clearly has issues with Mormons and presents Indians as noble, wise people. Description of the landscape is first rate. The story is melodramatic. Sequel to "Riders of the Purple Sage", Grey clearly has issues with Mormons and presents Indians as noble, wise people. Description of the landscape is first rate. The story is melodramatic.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sean Cozart

    This is my first Zane Grey read and undoubtingly my last. Classic Western author they said. Unless you mean a classic Western contains raping, bigotry, racism, predictable, flora and fauna knowledge lacking, and character development unheard of in most characters. Basic plot summary, this is a sequel to a gunfighter who 'saved' a woman and a young child from marrying a 'Mormon' polygamist. He did sonby trapping himself and the women in a valley, so no one can go in or out. Sixteen or so years lat This is my first Zane Grey read and undoubtingly my last. Classic Western author they said. Unless you mean a classic Western contains raping, bigotry, racism, predictable, flora and fauna knowledge lacking, and character development unheard of in most characters. Basic plot summary, this is a sequel to a gunfighter who 'saved' a woman and a young child from marrying a 'Mormon' polygamist. He did sonby trapping himself and the women in a valley, so no one can go in or out. Sixteen or so years later, John Shefford vows to rescue them and perhaps the young girl Fay Larkin will fall in love with him. Grey showed extreme hatred and bigotry to Mormons (in reality they're the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) as he wrote line upon line of their 'misdeeds' to women and those who disagree with their beliefs. Here's a few words from the book that are downright nauseating. "The first Mormon said God spoke to him and told him to go to a certain place and dig. He went there and found the Book of Mormon. It said follow me, marry many wives, go into the desert and multiply, send your sons out into the world and bring us your women, many young women. And when the first Mormon became strong with many followers he said again: Give to me in part of your labor--of your cattle and sheep--of your silver--that I may build me great cathedrals for you to worship in. And I will commune with God and make it right and good that you have more wives. That is what bishop preached. That is Mormonism... That is not religion. He has no God but himself." Jeez, who told the author this. They went West because masked mobs were slaughtering them! And the reason they practiced polygamy for a short time was because there was so many widows because they were being killed. And the law didn't care. That's only a piece of the unbelievable paragraphs he wrote. I mean, the first chapter was Shefford saving a Navajo girl from being raped by a 'missionary'. Seriously? Later in the book, Shefford starts in a hidden village of 'extra' wives. And since polygamy was illegal, the polygamist men would visit their wives only occasionally and at night, usually to have sex. They were often masked too. If that were true among the religion, why are masks so scrutinized at their activities? Because they were slaughtered by masked mobs! Other quotes and inaccuracies include, "They (Mormon polygamists) are filthy pigs." The women always wore hoods that hid their face like they were Muslims or Nuns. Hire gangs to dive out those who disagree. Character development was lacking as well. Shefford, the main character did experience a character improvement until two-thirds thru the book because he's daydreaming half the time of the legend told to him and woman who'd beauty exceeds all. I mean seriously, the Navajo Nas Ta Bega had more development and had the same facial expressions throughout the story and only said one or two lines at a time. Once again I state that it was incredibly predictable. Mary is Fay, wow, what a shocker, didn't see that one coming. Ruth was one of Waggoner's wives. What?!? Double whammy. Wait, Nas Ta Bega killed Waggoner? Jeez, they call that quality writing. As you can see, I was incredibly distraught with this book and any chances of me reading another Zane Gray book is zero. If he wasn't so bigoted and used outlaws instead of Mormons, this book could've easily been a solid four stars. As for me, I think I'll veer away Grey's works and read REAL classic Westerns like Louis L'Amour.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    Wow, loved reading this book. I have some sentimental attachment to it already: I picked up a CD boxset of the audiobook in a shop at HQ ISAF in Kabul back in early 2008, and it was read by Michael Prichard, and it was absolutely captivating, but sadly some of the last discs hadn’t copied correctly. So I read the prequel, Riders of the Purple Sage (RotPS) earlier this year, and was a bit disappointed with how plodding it was at times. However, I finally read The Rainbow Trail and found out what Wow, loved reading this book. I have some sentimental attachment to it already: I picked up a CD boxset of the audiobook in a shop at HQ ISAF in Kabul back in early 2008, and it was read by Michael Prichard, and it was absolutely captivating, but sadly some of the last discs hadn’t copied correctly. So I read the prequel, Riders of the Purple Sage (RotPS) earlier this year, and was a bit disappointed with how plodding it was at times. However, I finally read The Rainbow Trail and found out what happened after Shefford’s arrival at the hidden village, and I have to say that the whole experience of reading the complete Rainbow Trail was wonderful! The story was much more interesting than RotPS, the characters really sympathetic, and the landscape so vivid. Having read RotPS, it does make more sense why Shefford cares about finding Surprise Valley - there is the ever present something-happened-before - but if you accept that you can totally read this novel first or by itself. Red Lake, Kayenta, the canyons, the desert, the moss-covered banks of the stream, the cedars, the lonely trading posts - the descriptions of these were by far the best parts of the book. I also liked that the story was told from Shefford’s perspective. The former preacher who had lost his belief in God and was trying to find his way, to find some meaning, made for a really sympathetic and likeable main character, even if he was a bit frustrating in his naïveté at first, when he was floundering in the desert early on. The supporting cast of were great too: the Mormon Joe Lake, the traders Withers and Presbrey, the Sago Lily, Glen Naspa, and above all Nas Ta Bega. The Navajo Nas Ta Bega was very much portrayed as the noble savage, but considering it was written in 1915, it was a really sympathetic and indeed poignant portrayal. The villains were also great, especially the preacher Willetts and even more so the outlaw Shadd, who added a constant source of menace throughout the story. While it was definitely a romance, it felt like less of a romance and more of an adventure than RotPS. The descriptions of the environment really make me want to visit that part of the world, to see what it’s like.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Carrabis

    I had some challenges with this book until I got to maybe 10-15 pages from the end. Gray writes in his opening that The Rainbow Trail isn’t a sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (a tremendous book and a must read). Same location, references the same characters, makes use of Sage’s storyline, ... Are you sure this isn’t a sequel? There book also “suffered” from many expository lumps; long descriptions of the location, long descriptions of the character’s internal conflicts, lengthy soliloquies I had some challenges with this book until I got to maybe 10-15 pages from the end. Gray writes in his opening that The Rainbow Trail isn’t a sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage (a tremendous book and a must read). Same location, references the same characters, makes use of Sage’s storyline, ... Are you sure this isn’t a sequel? There book also “suffered” from many expository lumps; long descriptions of the location, long descriptions of the character’s internal conflicts, lengthy soliloquies by some characters, what appears to be an apologetic to Native Americans in general and Navajo specifically, ... I couldn’t understand what Gray was doing. Did he have unfinished story arcs and threw them in here? I found myself skimming parts of the book but kept on reading. It had to get better, yes? That’s when I hit the middle of the second to last chapter, right before the epilogue, and pulled a full stop. Dawn breaks on Marble Head. The events of those last 10-15 pages turn the whole story around. Gray’s correct, The Rainbow Trail is not a sequel. Also, it’s a western after the fact (my opinion). Gray wrote a westernized “Hero’s Journey” ala Joseph Campbell. Once that locked in - and I admit (in retrospect) I suspected the book was more than a “western” about halfway through, just didn’t recognize what it was - everything made sense; the Helpers, GateKeepers, Guardians, Challenge, Boon, wow, what a book! If nothing else, you have to read the whitewater scene at the end of the book. It’s the template that every other whitewater scene - movie or print - is based on. Incredible.

  26. 4 out of 5

    RJ

    “Zane Grey wrote this sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage in 1915, but for almost 90 years it has existed in a profoundly censored version. With this original, uncensored novel, the real story can finally be told. The plots of both novels, Riders and The Desert Crucible revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture.” John Shefford, a tenderfoot from Illinois is following a legend he heard. Recalling the Riders of the Purple Sage, the legend tells of three people trapped in the “Zane Grey wrote this sequel to Riders of the Purple Sage in 1915, but for almost 90 years it has existed in a profoundly censored version. With this original, uncensored novel, the real story can finally be told. The plots of both novels, Riders and The Desert Crucible revolve around the victimization of women in the Mormon culture.” John Shefford, a tenderfoot from Illinois is following a legend he heard. Recalling the Riders of the Purple Sage, the legend tells of three people trapped in the remote Surprise Valley. One of the people, a young girl named Fay Larkin who Shefford fell in love with sight unseen. His mission is to find this girl and free her. In his travels, Shefford comes across an educated Navajo named Nasta Vega who agreed to help him in his mission. As he travels, he revels in the beauty of Arizona; the sights and smells of the desert and the lush canyons. He learns much of the Mormons and the sealed wives who have been secreted here from the prying legalities of Utah. Shefford’s interactions with the sealed wives were interesting, informative, and heart-warming. It said much about Shefford’s personality, honor, and morality. The tale recounted incidents both good and bad that Shefford encountered. Would he find the treasure he searched for? The writing seemed different from the other Grey novels I had recently listened to, it was more descriptive, lyrical, and colorful. It reminded me more of a Louis L’Amour style, which I liked very much.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jeffrey

    I really tried to enjoy this book. I started to read the book and then shelved it when I realized that it was going to portray those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints in a very bad light. I being a member of that church I didn't want to be offended. Later I decided to read it realizing that it was based on a period of time I was never part of so I tried reading it again. This book is different then most that I have read from Zane Grey. He spends way to much time preaching to us I really tried to enjoy this book. I started to read the book and then shelved it when I realized that it was going to portray those of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints in a very bad light. I being a member of that church I didn't want to be offended. Later I decided to read it realizing that it was based on a period of time I was never part of so I tried reading it again. This book is different then most that I have read from Zane Grey. He spends way to much time preaching to us through the use of thoughts and reflections by the main character Lassiter. The Indians are viewed as always noble, and their ways are always the best. Normally I wouldn't have much of a problem with that, but it's the way that it is presented that appears to be very preachy. The Mormons and their spiritual wives is another bit of a one sided affair. For the most part the women (these spiritual wives) are treated as honorable and having integrity except for the part that they have been brainwashed, deluded, or tricked into this unjustifiable relationship. Much of the book involves Lassiter telling us what he's thinking and what he has come to understand or what is right in his eyes. I finally felt that I could no longer continue to be preached to by Zane through Lassiter and I stopped reading the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Benn

    “The Rainbow Trial,” by Zane Grey, is the sequel to the author’s most famous work, “The Riders of the Purple Sage.” The action picks up ten years after the events of the first book and follows John Shefford, a defrocked minister who heard the story of Jane Withersteen and Lassiter (presumed to still be trapped in Surprise Valley) and journeys west to find them and Jane’s adopted daughter Fay Larkin. Shefford is able to locate Fay in a secret village of Mormon “sealed wives” and must sneak her aw “The Rainbow Trial,” by Zane Grey, is the sequel to the author’s most famous work, “The Riders of the Purple Sage.” The action picks up ten years after the events of the first book and follows John Shefford, a defrocked minister who heard the story of Jane Withersteen and Lassiter (presumed to still be trapped in Surprise Valley) and journeys west to find them and Jane’s adopted daughter Fay Larkin. Shefford is able to locate Fay in a secret village of Mormon “sealed wives” and must sneak her away and then go find Surprise Valley to rescue Jane and Lassiter. While the action and characters are satisfying, the best thing about “The Rainbow Trail” are its incredible descriptions of the Utah canyons – especially a long passage describing a wild boat trip down a canyon to the rainbow bridge. These sections are wonderfully done and reminded me of some of Edward Abbey’s writings. I would strongly recommend “The Rainbow Trail” to anyone who enjoyed “Riders of the Purple Sage.”

  29. 4 out of 5

    David Zimmerman

    Riders of the Purple sage is considered the best work of Zane Grey. However, it was incomplete, begging for a sequel to finish the story. The Rainbow Trail was written for that purpose, and while it neatly ties up all the loose ends, the author became lost in a romance that I suspect few have cared about as much as he did. As a consequence, much of the story crawls through stark canyons of unnecessary musings and dialogue, that meander somewhere between chick lit and and a satisfying western sto Riders of the Purple sage is considered the best work of Zane Grey. However, it was incomplete, begging for a sequel to finish the story. The Rainbow Trail was written for that purpose, and while it neatly ties up all the loose ends, the author became lost in a romance that I suspect few have cared about as much as he did. As a consequence, much of the story crawls through stark canyons of unnecessary musings and dialogue, that meander somewhere between chick lit and and a satisfying western story. Over a decade has passed since I last read Riders of the Purple Sage, and I enjoyed every minute invested rereading it. Rereading The Rainbow Trail was painfully laborious, only serving to remind me of how forgettable 80% of the story is. My recommendation is to read Riders, enjoy the story, and then accept the fact that sometimes it’s just better to ride off into the sunset, and never look back.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mike Slusher

    An improvement over Riders of the Purple Sage, but it does share many of the same flaws that were prevalent in its predecessor. There's at least a tiny bit of "on screen" action in this book with Shefford defending an Indian girl against a missionary and later firing a shot (but missing) at a group of outlaws chasing him and his group. Just like the original story though there are paragraph after paragraph of setting descriptions and the big reveal is telegraphed and came as no surprise at all. An improvement over Riders of the Purple Sage, but it does share many of the same flaws that were prevalent in its predecessor. There's at least a tiny bit of "on screen" action in this book with Shefford defending an Indian girl against a missionary and later firing a shot (but missing) at a group of outlaws chasing him and his group. Just like the original story though there are paragraph after paragraph of setting descriptions and the big reveal is telegraphed and came as no surprise at all. Shefford is more likeable than Jane Withersteen from "Riders," but still seems a bit cowardly and the fact that he feels conflict and seems to lose his love for his future wife when he thinks she killed her kidnapper and rapist is pretty despicable.

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