While Comanche Moon is good, it’s not as good as Lonesome Dove. It could stand alone as a decent (not great) read, the fact that it’s meant to be a prequel to Lonesome Dove is actually a detractor.
First, there are storyline continuity details that don’t match between Comanche Moon and Lonesome Dove. I admit that I’m a bit of a compulsive weanie about this sort of thing, but these inconsistencies are significant enough that I suspect they’ll bother nearly anyone.
Second, while Lonesome Dove develops characters masterfully, Comanche Moon does a slightly less good job. In keeping with the storyline continuity issues mentioned above, the characters that appear in Lonesome Dove don’t always appear to be the matured version of the characters developed in Comanche Moon. In fact, they don’t appear to be EITHER matured versions of the characters developed in Dead Man’s Walk, OR younger versions of the characters developed in Lonesome Dove.
I did enjoy the characters as the author developed them in this book, in particular the interplay between Inish Scull, Famous Shoes, and Kicking Wolf. In fact, the development of the Comanche characters alone makes this a good read for western geeks like me.
As a critique of the entire series, the lack of continuity from one book to the next is truly astonishing to me. As a series, I’d probably have to rank it with 2 stars only. If you tackle this book, do so as a stand-alone novel, and I suspect you’ll be less frustrated and perturbed by how poorly the storyline across the series fits together, and how dramatically different the same character can be from one book to the next.
I’d recommend this book to western geeks like me, especially those fascinated (like me) with stories of the southern plains and the great Comanche nation. However, for the rest of the reading public, it probably doesn’t rise to the level of “highly recommended”.