The legends of the real-life American outlaws Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid remain sufficiently powerful enough to inspire fiction writers to create “what if” stories of their lives beyond the South American shoot-out that supposedly ended them. Sundance: A Novel, written by David Fuller and first published in 2014, is one such example.

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The current consensus of many historians is that Cassidy (real name Robert Leroy Parker, born 1866) and Sundance (real name Harry Longabaugh, born 1867) died in San Vincente, Bolivia, following a November 7th, 1908 shoot-out with militia. The iconic Western film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford, concludes that way. Redford played The Sundance Kid.

Fuller’s Sundance imagines a different story with Longabaugh still alive in the early 20th century but incarcerated in a Wyoming prison under a different name. Following release in 1913, Sundance re-enters a changed North American society – one with the growing presence of automobiles, electricity, and airplanes.

In the novel, the famous girlfriend of Harry, the mysterious Etta Place, has not visited him for two years and so Sundance, still very much in love, tracks her to New York City. Colliding with the modern world of pre-World War One New York, Sundance seeks Etta while running from his own legend.

Sundance: A Novel runs 416 pages and is available via various online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

(Copyright – Chad Beharriell)

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