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Callaghen's business is soldiering. For twenty years he'd fought all over the world, from China to the deserts of California; now he's a private in the U.S. Cavalry, poorly paid, his enlistment about to run out. He's ready to move on...until he comes across a startling discovery: a treasure map belonging to a dead lieutenant who may not have been all that he seemed. The map points the way to an underground river of gold...or does it? To find out, Callaghen will have to fight the toughest war of his life: against a fierce Indian warrior, a vindictive commanding officer, and a ruthless gang of outlaws who'll turn what may be a river of gold into a river of blood.
From the Paperback edition.
Behind the rocks the Mohaves lay waiting--and in the sky, the buzzards. Each was sure of their prey.
The four men lay in a flat place, and the sun was high. Two days had passed without water, four days without food, and their ammunition was down to its last few cartridges.
Before them was a peak they believed to be Eagle Mountain; if so, there was a water hole up the draw to the right. Of this they could not be sure, but they believed in it as a dying man believes in God.
For three days they had thought of that water, longed for it, dreamed wild dreams of it. The most gorgeous woman under heaven would have been spurned by any one of them for one swallow of water, be it brackish, sulphurous, or whatever.
The patrol began as they always begin; in this case there were six enlisted men and one officer. The officer was a proud, honorable, and decent young man with his first command, his first patrol into enemy country, where they had seen no enemies for two whole days and nights.
A camping spot had been decreed, and when the Delaware advised against it the lieutenant felt he could not permit his decision to be questioned. A few miles farther along, the Delaware assured him, there was a water hole and a defensible position. The young lieutenant hesitated, then decided to stay where they were.
The bedded down on level ground, in soft sand. The men slept well, for they were tired. Callaghen was to stand watch the first few hours, to be relieved by Private Baldwin.
The night was very clear, and as always in the desert it was cool, almost cold. The heat of the day vanished with the sun, for the rocks and sand did not hold the heat, but surrendered it quickly to the night.
Callaghen was wary. He was an experienced soldier, and he did not like the feel of the night, and he had been watching the Delaware.
The eastern Indian came of a tribe that numbered great trackers and warriors among them, but they had been driven from their homeland and were now scattered widely over the West. The Delaware had seemed uneasy, his head constantly turning, his eyes busy.
The attack came with the first light. Their horses were stampeded, one man was killed, another wounded.
Although the just awakening soldiers got off a few shots, there was no indication they had hit anything. The Indians vanished as they had come, fading into the sands like ghosts.
What followed was sheer hell. After waiting until the sun was up, the lieutenant formed them into a column of twos and they started out. The lieutenant walked beside Callaghen.
"Well, they got what they wanted," he commented, "but it is good to be rid of them."
"If we are."
"You do not think they have gone?"
"Then why don't they attack?"
Callaghen shrugged. "It is not their way, sir. They are watching us from out there, to see what we will do. They know this desert. They know what is ahead and we do not. They can plan, but our reaction must depend on circumstances."
"You are an educated man," the lieutenant said.
"Possibly. I have never been sure just what the term implies."
The lieutenant glanced at him, but was silent. They plodded on through ankle-deep sand. The dust rose, covering their clothing, their faces and hands. The wounded man kept up. He had been an Indian-fighting soldier for a long time, and he knew what it would mean to fall...
|Title:||Callaghen||Publisher:||Random House, Inc.|
|Author:||Louis L Amour|
|Edition:||Ebook , PDF|
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