J. Bradley Van Tighem
J. Bradley Van Tighem was born and raised in California, a sixth-generation Californian. He is an avid nature buff, especially fond of birds of prey and reptiles. He dabbled in falconry for several years, but realized he couldn’t dedicate enough time to it with a full-time job as a Java programmer and two sports-loving teenage boys.
His fiction attempts to capture his love of falconry and the Native American cultures, specifically the Apache and Comanche tribes of Texas. The first book of the Master of the Wild Series is entitled “Puha” and is set in the 1700s, unsettled Texas, before Rangers, revolvers, and rifles. A western without cowboys during a time when Comanches, “the most powerful tribe in American history” as coined by historical author S. C. Gwynne, roamed the Southern Plains on their painted ponies. “Puha” blends “My Side of the Mountain” with “Dances With Wolves.”
He hopes to follow-up “Puha” and “Mestizo” with the third installment of the series entitled “Tejano”.
Puha: Master of the Wild, Book I (Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction)
Many Wolves, a 12-year-old boy adopted by Lipan Apaches, is haunted by memories of mounted men with painted faces killing his white-skinned parents. When Laughing Crow, the powerful leader of the Nokoni Comanche band responsible for the killings, discovers his Lipan village and asks for the white-skinned boy in exchange for peace, Many Wolves flees. In the harsh desert wilderness, nourished by the salty waters of the Pecos River, he learns to survive alone with his trained wolf hawks. Five years later, the Nokoni leader’s son is killed by a Lipan arrow, which sets Laughing Crow on a trail of blood and vengeance. Many Wolves, now hardened by nature and empowered with a gift to walk with the spirits of his animals, is forced out of seclusion to confront his nightmare and protect his Lipan village. Puha, the Comanche word for “spiritual power,” is an unconventional western story set in the late 1700s, before Texas was settled with Colt revolvers and Winchester rifles: a time when vast herds of buffalo roamed the Southern Plains, grizzly bears and wolves thrived, and the Comanche rode unchallenged on painted ponies.
Independent Publisher (IPPY) Bronze Medal Winner for Best Regional E-Book – West of the Mississippi in 2014.
Mestizo: Master of the Wild, Book II (Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction)
Eight summers ago, Many Wolves killed Laughing Crow, the legendary leader of the Nokoni Comanches. And ever since that time, Many Wolves has been hiding himself deep in the unforgiving lands
along the Pecos River. It’s a place where few men could survive, yet he has thrived with the help of his trained hawk and wolf.
Now Laughing Crow’s son, Thorn Bird, is hell-bent on finding Many Wolves. Thorn Bird has asked the enigmatic warrior Malone to help him find the elusive white-skinned man with the strange animal magic. Together—and with the assistance of Thorn Bird’s new Mexican friends, led by the amiable Paco—they hope to find Many Wolves… and kill him.
“He will be as hard to find as the buried horned toad, and he has shown he can bite like the rattlesnake. But I will look for him. I will search until the last leaf has fallen and the winter nips at my ears. If I have not found him by then, I must return to my winter camp. His puha is strong, Thorn Bird. It may be too difficult to bring him back alive. That is all I can offer you, and all I can offer the spirit of your father, the spirit of my friend.”
Tejano: Master of the Wild, Book III (Historical Fiction/Literary Fiction)
Many Wolves and his wilderness village have enjoyed fifteen winters of peace and prosperity since Thorn Bird’s war. Now, a new enemy threatens to take the buffalo lands away from the Penateka people. His name is Captain James McCord, but he is widely known as Lead Fingers throughout Comancheria. The Penateka and Nokoni Comanches have reunited after many winters of unrest to fight this common enemy and have asked Many Wolves, and his friend Malone, to fight at their side. During a peace talk, Many Wolves meets a mysterious man named the Green-Eyed Coyote who comes from the lands in the south. Why is he staring at me?
“Our lands have been invaded by a predator,” said Crooked Eagle. “A predator who has tasted our blood and now thirsts for it. A predator whose hunger for death only grows stronger. This predator is the taiboo called Lead Fingers. He has drawn blood from both the Nokoni and Penateka. In moons past, we could outrun our enemy’s horses, hide from their trackers, and kill their men while they loaded their fire sticks. But Lead Fingers has taken this from us. He has bred horses from our horses, befriended Navoonah trackers to follow our scent, and created weapons that do not need to be loaded. Even now, he watches us from a camp less than a day’s ride away.”