Historical Western Author

David Z. Pyke



Reviews of Rescuing Crockett
Rescuing Crockett on tablet, phone, and in print, next to Juan, Emily, Silas, and Sam
Kirkus Reviews

"A young Texan investigates a rumor that Davy Crockett survived the massacre at the Alamo in Pyke’s historical novel.

"While attending a reception at the Prussian Embassy in Mexico City in 1838, Powhatan Ellis, the American envoy to Mexico, is stunned when he sees a recently painted portrait that seems to feature the famed Davy Crockett, who was supposed to have died two years earlier at the Alamo. Concerned that Crockett, the beloved frontiersman and former congressman, could be a prisoner of the Mexican government, Ellis feels compelled to explore the possibility, one presented with artful plausibility by the author. Ellis hires Hiram Brown, a mysterious man—even his appearance is “ethnically androgynous”—to investigate. Brown maintains an extraordinary intelligence network, largely made up of people from Indigenous tribes throughout Mexico. He recruits a team to scour Texas that includes Silas Grant, a 16-year-old who fought by his father’s side in the war against Mexico and even drove a wagon transporting the wounded.

"The investigative process centers around interviews of witnesses and survivors. The reconstructions of that catastrophic day in 1836 are utterly gripping and portrayed with both intelligence and dramatic power by Pyke. These accounts diverge considerably, raising provocative questions about the legitimacy of eyewitness testimony, long considered the gold standard of judicial evidence. As the author observes in a supplementary note: 'Was Crockett killed in battle or captured and executed? We will never know for certain. The death of David Crockett is a case study in the fallibility of witness testimony.' Pyke has achieved something rare: a novel that is dramatically captivating, historically rigorous (if ultimately fanciful), and philosophically inquisitive. This is the first in a series planned by the author, and it will likely leave the reader eager for more.

"A thrilling historical drama, as engrossing as it is edifying."

—Kirkus Reviews

The Historical Fiction Company

2023 gold medal winner in the American category, five stars, and the 'Highly Recommended' award of excellence: "Mr. Pyke unfurls a remarkable historical novel.... Pyke takes the reader on a very well-researched journey where all your senses are involved in the battles, the landscape, the emotions, and the intrigue of this unfolding mystery. The characters are well-fleshed out, as real as a Texas storm, and the propulsion of the storyline keeps one glued to the narrative until the very end. Without a doubt, any fans of western historical fiction, of the early days of Texas, and the heroic and tragic tale of the Alamo, will love this story."

—The Historical Fiction Company

BookLife by Publishers Weekly Editor's Choice

Editor's Pick: "...revels in a little bit of everything looked for by lovers of the genre.... Pyke offers rousing adventure, engaging camaraderie between the characters, a smoldering romance.... The story moves fast, despite Pyke’s feel for immersive scenic detail and welcome commitment to historical plausibility.... keeping the excitement up while never losing sight of the cast’s humanity.... Pyke takes pains to keep style and prose close to reality, making sure that the actual history on display here (and contextualized in clarifying notes) is as engaging as the what-if? of Crockett’s possible survival."

—BookLife by Publishers Weekly

Readers' Favorite

Five stars: "As I was reading Rescuing Crockett by David Z. Pyke, I kept going online to check if the events being described were real. That is how good Pyke is at crafting his completely unique and engrossing storyline. The historical details are rich and textured.... These felt so real, and the written visuals are almost cinematic in scope. There is a continued thread of tension and uncertainty throughout the novel.... The twists are wonderful and, aside from feeling immersive, the book is just plain good. An entertaining read and a line of literature that I want more of. Very highly recommended."

—Readers' Favorite

International Review of Books

"Thoroughly researched with beautifully detailed descriptions, Rescuing Crockett explores the possibility that David Crocket survived the siege on the Alamo.... We ride along with the Texians through the Texas prairie and meet some of the hardscrabble pioneers scratching out a living.... Their journey brings them face to face with their own demons as they recall their experiences during the revolution, but it also creates a brotherhood that bonds them together.... The author has taken great pains to ground the novel in historical fact, deviating only when the fictional story required it; thus giving the story an air of authenticity."

—International Review of Books

Reedsy Discovery

Loved it! "As a native Texan, I truly enjoyed reimagining Crockett's fate at the Alamo. The tale, as seen through the eyes of lesser-known heroes of the Texas Revolution, was a treat and spurred me to discover more about their roles in history. Many of his characters were actual persons, and kudos to Pyke for his research and for putting their contributions into perspective. I also appreciated the description of geography and terrain, which helped to paint a more complete picture of the time and place.... Pyke is a fine writer with a good eye for detail and a good ear for dialogue. His research is impressive, and he loves the characters he writes about.... Fans of historical fiction and the Alamo will find Rescuing Crockett thrilling and a welcome addition to books about the iconic last stand and its heroes."

—Robert Carpenter, Reedsy Discovery

"What a wonderful novel!... Mr. Pyke’s writing is a joy to read. We learn enough about the various characters to find them likable with kind, but implacable personalities. The book reads quickly, partially because the reader gets so involved in the story that it becomes obsessive. The dialogue among the men is very well done with little spots of humor interspersed.... I have always been fascinated with the story of the Alamo and the brave men who died there.... this book was a boon for me to find. I snatched it up right away. I will never forget it and will read it gladly again."

—Amazon VINE VOICE reviewer Tripower53

"I don't know a lick about Texas history, other than rudimentary information on the Alamo, but this book drove me to the history books to read more about the Republic of Texas, the men who fought and died at the Alamo, the battles with Santa Ana's troops and aftermath (San Jacinto, the Runaway Scrape) and other fascinating information and I came away incredibly impressed. About 80% of the characters in "Rescuing Crockett" were real people and the fictional characters are so well-developed that they read like flesh-and-bone real men and women.

The author uses the framing device of David (he hated "Davy") Crockett surviving the carnage of the Alamo and possibly being taken by Santa Ana to Mexico, and pulls together a group of men to speak with survivors.... investigate all avenues, fight like wildcats, and comes to a conclusion that seems entirely possible and very gratifying.

The book starts with the POV of the Mexican troops after the Alamo had been breached and somehow this makes it all seem more horrific - this was no glorious victory and so many people probably suffered from life-long PTSD as a result.... There's a quiet strength to these characters - historic and fictional - that shows why men lay down their lives for a cause, how boys strive to become men of integrity, how you pick up the pieces of your live and somehow continue when it seems impossible.

The plot held my interest absolutely every step of the way, and the alternate universe of the book felt grounded and real. I can't recommend this book enough."

—Amazon VINE VOICE reviewer CrabbyPatty

"Illuminating picture of the battle of the Alamo and Davy Crockett. This book paints a colorful and graphic analysis of life in the 1830s in the Republic of Texas as well as Mexico.... David Pyke paints a very illuminating picture of the battle and the subsequent aftermath in San Antonio. This alternative possible outcome is compelling. Enjoy!

—Amazon VINE VOICE reviewer V Williams

"An absolutely amazing read!! I loved this book!!! Absolutely true to the time period and the story is believable and fits in the current tone of scholarly study. The sense of early Texas and the political, social, and daily Life of post-San Jacinto Texas. Characters are great, especially Silas Grant. The mix of authentic and fictional characters is handled very well, and the situations in which the occur are factual when necessary and fictional where necessary. I thought it was a wonderful read and look forward to the next one!! Absolutely a highly recommended read."

—Amazon reader review from Lee Murray Brazos Booksellers

"Reading this gave me a real sense of the day to day lives of these characters in the ensuing years after the events of the Alamo.... Pyke’s writing is conversational and easy to read. The plot was fast paced.... I was thoroughly engrossed for the entire read.... While Rescuing Crockett is a work of fiction, from the Authors Notes, we learn that 80% of the characters are based on real people. The characters are well-defined, empathetic, and engaging. Telling much of the story through the eyes of 16-year-old Silas instead of the historical figures let us hero worship along with Silas. But we also feel his emotions - love, sadness, and anguish at having to take a life.... I was equally impressed with the quantity and quality of the female characters in the novel. So often, women, and their contributions, are omitted from history. From Emily, Silas’s love, to widows eking out a survival with no help from the Texas government, to a feud due a misunderstanding, the women in this novel are as appealing as the male characters. We see the impact the war had on the women and men in Texas. If history books were written like this, with a plot to move the story forward, I think more people would be interested in reading about it. Or at least I know I would be."

—Goodreads review from Lynn Pope

"This was a great concept for a alternate history novel, it was a great start to the Silas Grant series. David Z. Pyke has a great writing style that I enjoyed in this time-period. I was invested in Silas and the rest of the cast, it was a great concept and worked well overall. I look forward to read more in this series and from the author."

—Amazon reader review from Kathryn

"I LOVED this book. It was well written, and I wanted to know more about the characters as I read the story."

—Amazon reader review from Tricialy

"What a treat! Historical fiction always causes me to think 'what if' and this book took me there."

—Amazon reader review from KerryO

"Amazing Story!! I so loved reading this story, it is my favorite one where they blend truth and fiction. It makes you wonder could David Crockett really have lived and been captured as a prisoner. This is a new to me author, but I can’t wait to read more of his stories. If you keep writing them, Mr. Pyke, I will keep reading them.

—Apple Books reader Carolyn Valdez

"The author brought to life a fictional account of legendary frontiersman and congressman, David Crockett.... The narrative kept me spellbound from beginning to end as the plot grew stronger with each passing chapter. The storyline culminated with a spectacular finish. This well-written book had everything in it to make for a fascinating read."

—Amazon reader review from Paul Falk

"When an alternate history book is so well written that you have to keep reminding yourself......this is fiction......you have to give it 5 stars.... David Z Pyke has done a heck of a job telling a story that we could all of hoped were true."

—Goodreads review from Denice Langley

"A winner. I certainly enjoyed this book. It captured my attention from the very beginning and held it throughout. The writing was a very high caliber.... Characters were easy to follow and were people that you could associate with, and feel honored to be part of their story. The concept of the story was just simply outstanding in redoing a historical event and make it come alive. I tip my hat to the author for that. I highly recommend this book and hope it is very successful."

—Amazon reader review from Deacon Tom

"This novel is a fun twist on history. I wish this book was there when I was young! To add to the legend of Davy Crockett is a fantastic idea.... This is a fantastic read."

—Amazon reader review from pnuts50

"A great book full of history and fiction. I really enjoyed this book. The author mixed history and fiction to make a story I couldn’t put down. The courage and honor the six men went through to save a friend was phenomenal. The love Emily and Silas had for each other was adorable. Hope the author writes more riveting books."

—Amazon reader review from coyotecactus

"Absolutely loved this book! Every great story of fiction must be based on believable events. It is obvious that David Pyke used true historical events wrap his story around. I look forward to reading more of his stories about Silas Grant in the future!"

—Amazon reader review from Pap

"This was a great concept for a alternate history novel, it was a great start to the Silas Grant series. David Z. Pyke has a great writing style that I enjoyed in this time-period. I was invested in Silas and the rest of the cast, it was a great concept and worked well overall. I look forward to read more in this series and from the author."

—Amazon reader review from darkcatra

"Having been to the Alamo and knowing a fair deal of Texas history, I really enjoyed this book. I liked the travel element as the story follows the band of Texians across several spots in Texas and in Mexico during the 1800s. It was really interesting to hear familiar names being used in a new story. I also really like the way this book plays with Texas legends, taking witness accounts and theories of famous events, and puts new twists on them - particularly regarding Davy Crockett. If you like historical fiction, and particularly Texas history, this is a must-read book. The later half ups the action, but the human drama and mystery in the first half are also highly entertaining. It feels almost like a cozy, reflective drama that turns into a Western adventure. Definitely recommend it."

—Goodreads review from Samantha

"A great read - excellent historical fiction with action, adventure, romance, and more. The story is intriguing - is it possible that Davy Crockett survived the Alamo? A chance observation leads a band of Texians on a long journey to investigate and plot a rescue operation. Along the way, the scenery and historical details provide an entertaining backdrop for exploits in politics, war, and romance. The characters are well developed and engaging, and the story was well-crafted and very enjoyable. I hope we will learn more about Silas and Emily in future installments!"

—Amazon reader review from Amazon Customer

"Ghosts tell the tragic tale. Having recently settled in Texas an hour from the Alamo couldn't wait to visit. While there, one can almost here the whispers of the ghosts that surely are bound to the Alamo by the violent slaughter. The writer amplifies the whispers and allows the reader to hear the ghosts speak."

—Amazon reader review from Calinurseguy

"An interesting look at how history could have been different. Having read other books about the Alamo and seen the movies, I thought the premise of what if David Crockett didn't die at the Alamo to be an interesting one. It was also interesting to read all the different witness accounts from people who were actually present when the Alamo fell and how the characters sifted through them. The historical note at the end of the book gave a lot of useful information. I liked the characters and the book was well-written and easy to read. I can't wait to see another Silas Grant book.

—Amazon reader review from Cindy S. Cardinal

"A real page turner! I don't typically read Westerns, but the concept of this story had me intrigued so I decided to give it a go. And I am so glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The author's attention to detail had you hearing the shots and and screams of battle. I could almost smell the cooking. The story was a nice mixture of Western and thriller with well-researched and well-written characters. You love these people like you've known them personally and you feel their joy and sadness. If you love historical fiction and adventure, you will love this book and be looking forward to the next one. I know I am.

—Amazon reader review from Don G. Burbank

"Well researched, with a terrific story! I so enjoyed this "what-if" story of rescuing Dave Crockett after the Alamo attack. The historical research was accurate, with lots of real historical names and situations dropped in. The author also does a nice job at the end outlining who/what was real and who/what was a literary device in the story. This one was good enough for me to watch for other books by this author, and to buy a copy for our teen grandson, who is interested in history and enjoys good stories.

—Amazon reader review from Prof

"My maiden name is Crockett, my youngest son is named Crockett and my 'baby' brother was born in 1955 at the height of the 'Davy Crockett' TV faze. Naturally, he was named after our recently deceased grandfather, Henry David Crockett. So of course, I would enjoy a novel based on the proposition that David Crockett survived the Alamo.... It was great reading to follow these men around the Republic of Texas 185 years ago and then hold my breath as they sailed to Mexico! I appreciated Pyke's 'Historical notes.' Most of the people and places truly existed. It is surprising how many of the events are historical and woven together masterfully by Pyke."

—Amazon reader review from retired to read

"I picked up this book because the premise sounded interesting. I ended up thoroughly enjoying it. It felt like a spy novel set in the Old West. The characters, action scenes, and settings were extraordinary."

—Goodreads review from Melissa Miller

"Great portrait of the aftermath of the Alamo battle. Great portrait of the aftermath of the Alamo battle. The characters, both historic and fictional, are well developed and believable. I found the life of Santa Anna after his return to Mexico very interesting.... as a fan of alternate history, I loved this story."

—Amazon reader review from Rick Surles

"A Solid Historical Novel. Rescuing Crockett is an enjoyable and interesting read. The author does a great job of blending fiction and historical facts. So, if you didn't know what really happened to David Crockett, you might think that he really had been rescued by a group of stalwart friends and soldiers. It all rang so true, I had to keep reminding myself that this is historical fiction.... The relationship between Silas and Emily is a terrific subplot, and I enjoyed the tender, sweet scenes they have together.... I highly recommend Rescuing Crockett to folks who like a good historical novel that introduces a wonderful new character to the fictional world.

—Amazon reader review from Maryann Miller

"A thrill-a-minute historical romp.

With a cast of well-rendered characters, Rescuing Crockett takes readers on a quest of discovery as a group of men race to learn whether or not David Crockett survived the Battle of the Alamo. To be honest, I was expecting a bit of a dry historical treatise when I picked up Rescuing Crockett, and I have never been happier to be so thoroughly incorrect. Instead of a historical retelling, I found myself pulled into a spy thriller that didn’t stop for a moment.

Bullets fly, intrigue abounds, and love blooms in this tale that defies easy classification. Right out of the gate, Pyke surprises readers with a sympathetic depiction of the deplorable conditions for the Mexican army survivors immediately after the Battle of the Alamo. For a good chunk of the book, I kept wondering in the back of my mind if this was just to add some gruesome details, but I learned that each and every item in this book is indeed thoughtful, vital, and necessary.

Novels with such a vast array of characters can often get bogged down as the reader attempts to keep track of the sheer number of people. Pyke introduces necessary characters with an almost poetic grace, his words drawing a deft picture that quickly establishes the essence of the person and plants them firmly in the reader’s mind. The main character, Silas Grant, practically jumps off the page. From his respect for the elder Texians in the group, to his creative problem-solving, to his relationship with Emily, Silas is a marvelous character, and I’m thrilled to know this won’t be his last adventure through the pen of David Z. Pyke. I also enjoyed the character of Fanny, or Frances Calderón de la Barca. “But Fanny was far more than beautiful, and woe to the man who underestimated her.” She seems a woman ahead of her time. Although a minor character, her portrayal here had me running to research her life to learn more.

From brutally honest depictions of the aftermath of the Battle of the Alamo to intriguing glimpses into the lives of its heroes, David Z. Pyke’s artistry is on full display from the first page to the last. With a magical mixture of fact and fiction, these Texians come to life. I enjoyed each page and look forward to Silas Grant’s future exploits.

—Amazon reader review from DJ88

"A wonderfully entertaining blending of fact and fiction! Rescuing Crockett is a wonderfully entertaining blending of fact and fiction that takes a stab at what could have happened if one little piece of Texas history was different.... I happen to love historical fiction that shows what may have resulted if some historical event had a different outcome. The Stephen King novel 11/22/63 is a prime example of what I mean. To my delight, this story fell directly into that small niche.... One of the things I really loved about this book was the inclusion of Historical Notes after the end of the story. In these notes, the author went into some detail differentiating between fact and fiction. I was taken aback by the number of characters that actually existed. Thus, the reader does not have to be a Texas history buff to fully enjoy the story, yet understand which parts of it were based on actual history.... I was well engaged in this story, and I take my hat off to the author for his creativity in developing such an interesting story line. Highly recommended!"

—Amazon reader review from Michael O

"Searching for a ghost of the Alamo. In Rescuing Crockett, author Pyke creates a history buff's dream by asking, 'What if Davy Crockett survived the Battle of the Alamo?' As a native Texan, I truly enjoyed reimagining Crockett's fate at the Alamo. The tale, as seen through the eyes of lesser-known heroes of the Texas Revolution, was a treat and spurred me to discover more about their roles in history. Many of his characters were actual persons, and kudos to Pyke for his research and for putting their contributions into perspective.... I also appreciated the description of geography and terrain, which helped to paint a more complete picture of the time and place.... Pyke is a fine writer with a good eye for detail and a good ear for dialogue. His research is impressive, and he loves the characters he writes about. Overall, fans of historical fiction and the Alamo will find Rescuing Crockett thrilling and a welcome addition to books about the iconic last stand and its heroes."

—Amazon reader review from lessthan47

"Mr. Pyke’s detailed descriptions bring to life the heroes of the Texas Revolution.... The descriptions of this arduous journey introduce the reader to the dangers of the isolated country.... The vivid hardships evoke all the senses and emotions in this excellent story.... Mr. Pyke’s research, woven into the thrilling tale, takes readers on an unbelievable ride through realistic history in a wild, untamed environment from Texas to Mexico.... Fans of historical Texas fiction will enjoy the realistic dialogue and witty banter between characters, which makes the reading easy. The realism of the people, places, and events shows sides of life not always shown in history books. Plus, a teenage romance interlude adds an odd but human element. Rescuing Crockett comes together in a rich tale that makes history fun and is recommended for young adults and beyond."

—Goodreads review from Rox Burkey

Buy Rescuing Crockett

Rescuing Crockett is on sale in paperback, hardcover, and eBook through the following retailers.

Note: hardcover copies of Rescuing Crockett from Amazon are case laminate. Rather than a dustcover, the full-color art is printed directly on the cover.

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