This is not the normal story you find on SOL. This blends a bit of true history along with fantasy, the supernatural and fiction. It contains slavery, pedophilia and the drug trade, but mainly as issues that happen and need to be dealt with. It discusses both politics and religion along the way to righting wrongs and having a happily ever after. You might ask how all of that is even possible. The answer, in a single word, is "masterfully".
For story plot, I give this a 10 (as in, it went well beyond an A+). This is a very lengthy read, and the author uses that to establish not only the back story going back 150+ years, but also uses it to tie up loose ends very well.
This story suffers a little in technical quality. Some chapters appear worthy of a 10, as they are either error-free or very close to it. Other chapters have a large number of errors (10 or more in a single chapter) that bring those sections down to an average C (6). On average, I will give it an A-minus (8).
For personal appeal, I give is an A-plus (9). The story was very long, and it even took me several days to finish it completely, as real life intruded unmercifully on my reading time. The story left me wanting to know the characters involved, and the description of the Apache Nation which was ultimately being formed left me wanting to move there. Of course, part of that appeal is that my own political beliefs strongly mirror those of Jason (Longbow), who is the self-proclaimed adoptive grandfather of the main character.
All in all, an excellent read. There is not a huge amount of romance in it, and the sex scenes are mainly understated. The story does expose a lot of the dark side of humanity, but gives us a hero worthy of the job of destroying that darkness. More importantly, the darkness does not become the story, and we are left with a ray of hope for mankind.
The Scot is an author I have only recently discovered - and now wish I had found him before. He isn't a prolific author - currently with only 4 stories published on SOL - in fact his first three were first published in 2005 and 2006. Gunslinger was finished in late 2006 and the next two, The Hawk and the Chipmunk and Shiloh are both currently being updated.
As at March 2010 The Hawk and the Chipmunk is at Chapter 77 - and The Scot has stated that Chapter 82 will see this epic tale finalized - so only another 5 chapters to go.
When you first start reading this story (or is it really a novel?) it takes a while before you find out the significance of the title - just where does a Hawk or Chipmunk come into it? (I won't spoil it for those that haven't read it) - and in a way the two names creep up on you. Initially the name Hawk tends to confuse because the main character - Hawk obviously - can go by three names. You get used to his first name, then he gets a second and finally the name Hawk. But it doesn't detract from the story as long as you don't dwell on the differing name he gets called!
I'm not sure whether the following comment is a pro for the story or a con - although time is mentioned in passing (for example John is in prison for 5 years - we are told that outright) the time afterwards cannot be related to things going on around him. In a sense there were times when actions seemed to happen 'overnight' (setting up of the companies towards the end for example) and it became a bit confusing as to how much time had gone by. At other places in the story, you get 2, 3 or 4 chapters about happenings over a period of 24 hours (Mexico for instance).
I called this a novel because, really, that is what it is. Given this title, the sex scenes in the book were, in this reviewers opinion, actually distracting from the story. It was like they had been put in there because of where the story was being published and therefore had to conform to other stories on the site. I found that I skipped these because, as I say, found them distracting from the overall story. But this will obviously be a personal preference for each reader.
My main 'beef' with the story though is the editing - or apparent lack of it. The Scot gives praise to two long-term editors that have 'stuck by him' - TeNderLoin and Kanga. In numerous chapters a third editor had also been praised for their help. I would have to say that even if there are only two editors working on the story then they are missing a LOT of very basic errors - both grammar and spelling. Enough that they stand out like sore thumbs so much that when you get to them you stop reading and say 'What the....'. Maybe I am being picky, but I know that one of the editors is used by many authors on SOL and I am extremely surprised that these basic errors are getting by him. Maybe it is a case of 'too many cooks' and changes being undone when sent or received by the second editor - either way - these mistakes make the difference between having a really good story and having a great story. At this stage it is still, technically, only 'good', Which is why I gave a relatively low Technical Quality mark.
Bottom line - read it! Can't put it any plainer. I started a week ago and with 407,835 words published so far in 13,241 paragraphs and 1,842,297 characters - well yes it is long, but it was thoroughly enjoyable. Now I just have to wait for the final 5 chapter to come out and then look forward to the follow up book, Apache Nation.