Essentially, this novel, set at the end of the eighteenth century, shows that cowboys were as much invented in Wales as in Wyoming.
Running through this Welsh Western, with its personalities, adventure and incidents, the storyline has the strong cultural, emotional and human elements that make Westerns so appealing – by exploring how people act in the drama of their own lives.
Written very much in the style of an old-fashioned Western, this tale of Welsh drovers taking a large herd of cattle from the 'wild west' of North Wales to London in the 1790s stakes a claim for these interesting characters to be the first cowboys. What happens in Westerns happened here to drovers on their cattle drive.
Engaging the reader with its authentic period feel and rich in excitement, All Through the Night tells the rights-of-passage tale of a young man seeking to escape his background. Relations between the drovers and the good and bad people they encounter on their cattle drive make for a lively and emotional tale.
Combining romance and the romantic appeal of life in the saddle with the struggle to ensure that relationships and families survive against all the odds, this book has all the ingredients needed for a satisfying tale of strong individuals being tried and tested on life's journey.
At heart, it is about loss, which is, perhaps, the basic story arc of all our lives; losing people, losing cultural heritage, losing our innocence - all in the relentless unfolding of our life's experiences.
Neil Thomas was born in Wales and, in his mind at least, is never far from it. In All Through the Night, his first work of fiction, he has taken delight in trying to demonstrate that we should not think that Americans have the monopoly over the Wild West, cowboys, trailhands, rawhide and cattle drives.
The book is for all readers of general historical fiction who will enjoy its quirky, original angle – that everything we have come to expect from a good Western happened in Britain, only many years before. The salute to the cultural heritage of Wales will add a regional appeal to its wider national and international appeal.
A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
A Welsh Western?
You might think it too eccentric, but is it?
A new novel (All Through the Night) published by Thorogood on the 30th September has the following idea as its ‘elevator pitch’ (to use the jargon of the film world): that cowboys were invented as much in Wales as in Wyoming.
How so? Well drovers took large herds of cattle across country from Wales to London and it is easy to develop the notion that everything that happens in Westerns could have happened to them.
The book is set in the 1790s and the story revolves around the ‘cowboyos’ who take one particular cattle drive from Anglesey to London, crossing the Menai Strait (ok, so it’s not the Rio Grande, but…) and finishing by selling the herd to Smithfield dealers.
But, it is really a novel about the characters of the drovers themselves, of those they leave behind and meet on the way, of the adventures and adversities they face and how the experiences they have shape their lives.
All the ingredients of a classic western, in other words, but featuring the culture and personalities of the Wild Welsh rather than the Wild West.
“It’s the best Welsh Western ever published ” – says the author, who just happens to be Neil Thomas!