The Tentmaker

The Tentmaker, a novel of the old West by Clay Reynolds

After the Civil War, the country had little use for Gil Hooley or for the quality, handmade tents and awnings he and his family had always made. He’d received no honors for his military service, made no impact on the lives of his fellow man, and managed for most of his life to avoid making any mark on the world whatsoever. But, then, he’d never wanted to. Left with no other means of making a living, though, he finally journeys west with a wagonload of the finest canvas to put his skills to the test. There could be no place hungrier for the shelter of his custom-made shade, he decides, than the treeless plains of West Texas.

When his wagon breaks down, though, it appears that the beginning of his end is near. Instead, a few wayfarers happen by, and then a few more, until suddenly Gil Hooley finds himself the reluctant leader of a growing community, responsible for a nearly mute carpenter and a high strung, beautiful madam, among other itinerant wanderers and pilgrims looking for a home. When the town is threatened by frontier evil, Gil is forced to action for the first time in his life. He ultimately discovers that this accidental town in the middle of nowhere may not have been his destination, but it may well be his destiny.

With an all-new introduction to the Baen Ebook Edition.

Ambitious and absorbing.

—Larry McMurtry

Written with brio and fidelity to historical detail, Reynolds novel is a rough-riding, idiosyncratic western … he is in top form with this graphic, galloping yarn of frontier justice.

—Publisher’s Weekly

The Tentmaker heads full throttle into rentless hilarity. It’s skeptically-drawn world is atmospherically overcast, but you will be laughing too hard to notice or care.

—Dallas Morning News

A rollicking tale of romance and misadventure reminiscent of Cat Ballou and Blazing Saddles, The Tentmaker may well turn out to be the most popular novel this author of serious western dramas has produced since his Pulitzer Prize entry, Franklin’s Crossing

—Iron Horse Literary Review

Reynolds turns in another masterful creation with quirky characters, and plot, and some of the most beautiful writing you’ll see in the next decade.

—Roundup Magazine

The author uses the substance of the myths to suit his purpose and the result is a poignant, well-crafted story impossible to resist.

—Denver Post

Finalist—Texas Institute of Letters John Bloom Award for Humorous Novel