Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, by David B. Riley and Laura Givens

Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, by David B Riley and Laura Givens book coverGenre: Western Fantasy
Publisher: Hadrosaur Press
Published: 2017
Reviewer Rating: four stars
Reviewer: David L. Felts

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Legends of the Dragon Cowboys, by David B Riley and Laura Givens consists of two tales, with each tale comprised of a series of interconnecting shorter stories. The first is The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung, by David B. Riley, and the second is Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night, by Laura Givens. Both tales present Chinese protagonists forging their own eccentric paths in the wild, wild west of the later half of the 1800s.

The Venerable Travels of Ling Fung is a more straightforward tale, as Fung relays his various adventures first hand. In Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night, Givens uses the frame of a narrator telling the stories, that narrator being the grand-son of Chin Song Ping and his audience a group of fellow American serviceman currently held in captivity by German soldiers during World War II.

The result is two enjoyable novellas sure to entertain any fan of western-style fantasy akin to the TV series Kung-Fu or a melding of East and Wild West a la Shanghai Noon. The writing is up to the task, although I found Givens’ tale to have a smoother and more pleasing flow. I found Riley’s dialog and narrative inconsistent in that sometimes Fung spoke with some sort of stilted English, and other times not.

Both of the main characters share some similarity: Chinese, highly skilled (one at Kung Fu, the other at acrobatics), and sanguine and pragmatic and seemingly unperturbed about the remarkable circumstances they so frequently find themselves in.

I enjoyed both quite a deal, although I give the edge to Chin Song Ping and the Long, Long Night which I thought more inventive and more smoothly presented.

Anyone whose a fan of the weird west, or the wild west with some weirdness present, is sure to enjoy this one. It’s short length, fun stories, and originality make it easy to recommend.

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