|Bosom Enemies 2: Bearing Our Losses. By Donna Barr. Bremerton, WA: A Fine Line Press, 2001. 64p. $6.00. ISBN 1-892253-10-0.|
The pair and their riders, along with a small company, encounter some "good" Hapsooth, who bear official papers and carry only lances instead of guns. Although the military Tudans are only helping these people get new papers, Stephan is upset; he doesn't fight women and children, and he gets fractious, to his rider's (the captain's) dismay. Stewart is more contemptuous of the "Injuns." Although most of the Hapsooth are cooperative, one, the son of the headman, doesn't hide his anger and skepticism. Then, one of the Hapsooth mares, carrying two children, bolts. Stephan runs after her, but she escapes. Returning to the group, they are ambushed in a defile by hostile Hapsooth; the captain is shot and killed, and Stephan is captured. They want him because he's gorgeous, but he doesn't speak their language, and he thinks they want to eat him.
The rest of the military Tudans find out quickly enough what happened to their captain. (Stewart wants to rescue Stephan, but his rider refuses.) They demand of the waiting Hapsooth that one of their number give up a horse to replace Stephan. Although the elders of the group force a reluctant young boy to give up his colt, the colt bolts and returns to camp, which is the same camp where Stephan has been taken. Frightened, Stephan tries to escape, but the Hapsooth hang on to him, and he is ultimately "broken" by a handful of children enchanted by his looks.
Meanwhile, as the military Tudans are escorting their band of Hapsooth away, they decide to shoot all the Tudans' horses, which sickens Stewart. And while the Hapsooth bear the loss of their beloved steeds stoically, the angry son of the headman ultimately ends up stabbing one of the military men--which, of course, results in a massacre, leaving only two children alive. Shocked to his core, Stewart collapses back at the fort.
Some time later, as Stewart and his rider are out riding casually, they come upon Stephan and his new rider. The two horses joyfully reunite (annoying their riders no end, especially after they buck them off), but Stewart is disgusted when he finds that Stephan likes his new Hapsooth life. They have a fight and split up. However, Stewart ends up as part of a raid on the Hapsooth when the tribe attempts to move up to their winter grounds. In the ensuing bloodbath, both Stewart and Stephan are left riderless. Stewart tries to convince Stephan to return to the military stable with him, but when Stephan discovers that one of the Hapsooth mares survived, he goes with her... and Stewart follows.
I don't have too much to say about Barr's art that I haven't already said: I've always been impressed by it. Please check out her work at her website: www.stinz.com.
Bosom Enemies just keeps getting better and better. Highly recommended for adults and teens. It's too intense for kids, with its realistic and shocking massacre scenes and frank discussion of sexual matters.
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