Navarro’s Gold | Critical Book Review
Dustin Hansen’s “Navarro’s Gold” takes readers on a tumultuous journey through the captivating yet perilous landscapes of the American West. In this indie historical novel, Hansen breathes new life into the Western genre, introducing a unique protagonist, Cole Baxter, and infusing the narrative with unexpected twists and turns.
A Scholar in a Cowboy’s World
Cole Baxter, an academic with an unexpected bounty on his head, embarks on a quest across the flat expanse of Nebraska in pursuit of a legendary pirate’s hidden treasure. Hansen skillfully juxtaposes the open prairies, rock formations, and distant mountains with the urban landscapes where wealth-seeking families like Cole’s reside. Amid saloons and general stores, Cole discovers allies and adversaries, learning the harsh realities of trust in both worlds.
From Academic Pursuits to the Hunt for Treasure
Unlike the archetypal heroes of traditional Westerns, Cole Baxter is an academic, ill-prepared for the challenges the West presents. Driven by lost love, he seeks a treasure discussed with his ex-lover Maggie for years, unaware that Maggie’s husband has put a bounty on his head. The narrative unfolds as Cole, pursued by Pinkertons and bandits, traverses towns in search of an astronomer to decipher a pirate’s journal leading to Navarro’s treasure.
Bonds Tested in the Wild West
Cole’s friendship with Eliot Bianchi, the old astronomer’s grandson, becomes a focal point, enduring trials ranging from infernos to gunfights. While Cole’s character is laid bare, Eliot remains enigmatic, revealing a shocking secret that adds an unexpected layer of tension to the narrative. Hansen’s penchant for plot twists and near-death experiences keeps “Navarro’s Gold” as unpredictable as the treacherous landscape it navigates.
Nature as a Character
The wild West, elegantly portrayed by Hansen, serves as more than a backdrop. It becomes a character, offering obstacles and respite alike. Hansen’s profound knowledge of the landscape is matched by his poetic descriptions, exemplified in scenes like Cole inspecting a mesmerizing rock formation. The natural beauty, intertwined with the characters’ admiration, connects Cole to the untamed land.
Depths Beyond the Surface
Beneath the surface of adventure and treasure hunting, “Navarro’s Gold” delves into more profound themes. The treasure hunt transcends gold, delving into history and the stories of those seeking it. As Cole faces loss and adversity, he discovers the true essence of life. Hansen’s narrative unfolds with sophistication, challenging preconceptions about the West and the pursuit of riches.
Publisher, Genre, Print Length, and ISBN
|Historical Fiction / Western
Dustin Hansen’s “Navarro’s Gold” takes readers on a tumultuous journey through the captivating yet perilous landscapes of the American West. In this indie historical novel, Hansen breathes new life into the Western genre, introducing a unique protagonist, Cole Baxter, and infusing the narrative with unexpected twists and turns. A Scholar in a Cowboy’s World Cole…