Sulphur River by Art Anthony

Sulphur River by Art Anthony
Click the link to purchase your copy of Sulphur River

Author: Art Anthony
Publisher: Tate Publishing
Copyright Date: 2009
Foundational Characters: Art Logging, Darrell Stroud
Standard Rating: YA
Reviewer Rating: 2 Stars
Available Formats: Paperback, Kindle, Audible
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1607995433
ISBN-13: 978-1607995432
Book Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
Page Count: 316
Genre: Fiction
Sub-Genre: Historical Fiction, Civil War Era, Friendship, Family
Tags: Fiction, Historical Fiction, Civil War Era, Friendship, Family


As the Civil War draws to a close, the desperate Confederate army drafts fifteen-year-old Art Logging in place of his dying father. Sulphur River follows Art and his friend Darrell Stroud through their service in the Red River campaign and into their journey to make men of themselves. Art’s keen eye for business opportunities in the midst of a crumbling nation and Darrell’s resourceful support could set both boys up for a comfortable life in Northeast Texas. If only it were that simple.

Art and Darrell aren’t the only ones looking to take advantage of chaos in the South in the mid-1860s. They must navigate their cotton, cattle, and horses around Confederate deserters, a crooked lawyer, and their own passions to reach the markets where they are most likely to make a profit. The boys find natural allies among neighboring farmers and a few unnatural allies in escaped slaves, Indians, and even Union soldiers.

Author Art Anthony has loaded Sulphur River with research into the history, culture, and economics of the eastern edge of the Old West. Those interested in Civil War history or pioneer stories will especially appreciate the adventures of Art Logging.

Art Anthony was born and raised in Goose Creek, Texas and now resides in Tuttle, Oklahoma. He retired in 2005 after twenty-three years in education. The last ten years he was superintendent of South Fork School district in Kincaid, Illinois. He moved to Oklahoma to be near his two grandsons. Art again began teaching for Oklahoma City public schools at Southern Hills Elementary. Earlier in his career Art was involved in agriculture manufacturing and marketing. He has four children and six grandchildren. (From the publisher’s website)

The Revelation

The story of Sulphur River started out well. Anthony laid out the plot and started his character development much the same way as many other authors. After some twenty pages, I began to notice a trend. I flipped back a few pages, and then forward a number of pages just to confirm my suspicion. I was right. I wasn’t going nuts, and I wasn’t falling off my rocker. I was right. For some reason, Anthony wrote the whole of Sulphur River without using dialogue.

Sure, some dialogue is present, but not in the traditional sense. What I mean is this: When an author sets dialogue apart from the rest of his or her text, the author does so with quotation marks and direct quotes made by his or her characters, as follows.

“This is something that one character says to another,” said one character to another.

“This is what the other character says in reply,” replies the other character.

Dialogue like this is not present in Sulphur River. When I first realized what was going on, I was somewhat put off as the reader. I felt cheated in a way.

Instead of using direct dialogue from the characters’ point-of-view, the narrator explains everything to do with the characters using the same tone, the same cadence, the same level of familiarity with one character as it does with another from only the narrator’s point-of-view. Because of this one-dimensional level of depth, the reader is left with an otherwise good story that is written as if it were just the outline of the story as a whole. The story looks like Anthony took his notes in a sort of weak outline form and published them instead of waiting to finish the story and publish the whole story.

At first glance, I thought I would be able to get over it, but as the pages passed, I grew more and more annoyed at what I was missing out on. Sulphur River could have been a very successful story had Anthony provided it to his readers. But instead, we are left with just the idea of the story only. I would have liked it a lot more given the full story.


Contains teenage sex and other adult content.

Click the link to purchase your copy of Sulphur River

This entry was posted in Art Anthony, Family and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.