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El Tigre: 08/15/08
El Tigre by John H. Manhold with it's catchy title and colorful cover is a conversation piece. Whenever I was reading this book in public, people wanted to know what it was about. It's a historical fiction about a young Prussian aristocrat who makes a life for himself as a professional soldier and in the process becomes a legendary figure known as El Tigre for his skill and speed in battle.
Although El Tigre is a fictional character he was inspired by Manhold's family history and his own interests in the old west. In an online interview, Manhold explains how he uses the alias "El Tigre Viejo" (the old tiger) in the Single Action Shooting Society (SASS).
El Tigre is full of interesting history. Sometimes the presentation of the facts gets in the way El Tigre's adventures through excessive "info dumping" but the setting is interesting enough to keep the reader engaged. It was interesting to see how the political situation in Europe meshed with the situation in the new world between Spain, Mexico, the fledgling Republic of Texas, the United States and finally, California.