UNDER OUTLAW FLAGS is one the author’s early novels recently released to ereaders. Good thing. I have a fair chunk of his books, but chasing down all of them would be a full time job.

It’s 1917 and the old west is not as wild as it once had been. Not dead though. The Tacker gang was one of the last horse riding bands that specialized in robbing banks. The make a mistake when they hit a bank in Reno. The law was waiting for them and they were arrested and convicted. The judge gave them a choice: twenty years in prison or enlist in the army to go fight the Germans. The U.S. had just entered the war and the race was on to train and send troops over.

Five of them survived the aborted bank robbery. Roy and Jace Tacker, Big Boy Guiness, Aaron Gault, and the narrator of our story, Drew Matthews.

Two, Jace and Aaron, end up aviators, loving the feel of being up in the air. The other three became cavalry, preferring to get no higher off the ground than the back of a horse.

The novel covers their training, the deployment to Europe, and their adventures there, the battles, the losses, the loves.

Reasoner mixes his fictional characters with real people of the era(Black Jack Pershing and Frank Luck) and other fictional folk(I couldn’t help but grin at a chance meeting between our heroes and a couple of fliers named Wentworth and Allard).

I had a lot of fun reading this one.