In 1880, Jack Givens is seventeen and living happily on his family’s ranch in
southwest Texas when a family tragedy involving rattlesnakes starts him down a
path that will eventually make him one of the most famous (and reluctant)
gunfighters in the country. Using his wits as well as his ability with a gun,
Jack defends himself from the gunfighters who, looking to enhance their own
reputations, come to challenge him.
When the gunfighters who target Jack start to threaten his family, he is
forced to leave home. While trying to avoid other gunfighters and playing
poker to support himself, he travels by horseback, stage coach, steamboat, and
train to New Orleans, St. Louis, Denver, and San Francisco, with a lot of
stops, poker sessions, gunfights, interesting (and sometimes humorous)
characters along the way. He also has to contend with misleading newspaper
reports which, in order to sell more newspapers, present him to the world as a
However, this book is much more than a Western about a reluctant gunfighter.
It is also a family saga as well as a coming-of-age story, told with warmth
and humor. It describes how the influences of Jack’s father, the family ranch
hands, and even his friends inadvertently push him down the path to becoming a
gunfighter. It also shows how these same influences, along with some guidance
from his mother, help him, at least for awhile, to survive this hellish
The central question, of course, is whether or not Jack will survive. This,
along with the way in which he attempts to end his life as a gunfighter so
that he can return to his family, provides for some surprises near the end of
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Robert Norris lives on the coast of North Carolina with his wife of 49
years. He received degrees in math and computer science from the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After a successful 45 year career in IT, Robert
was looking for something to do in retirement. An avid life long reader, he
decided to try his hand at writing. Snaked!!! is the result, published when
the author turned 71.