Readers who are wishing to purchase an autographed copy of one of Randy Lee Eickhoff's books may do so from the Plains Trading Company in Valentine, Nebraska---the author's hometown. To do so please contact:

Plains Trading Company
Darlene Meyer or Duane Gudgel
269 North Main Street
Valentine, NE 69201

  Toll-free Phone:(800) 439-8640
Local Phone: (402) 376-1424

If books are not available here, they may be ordered from either or
These books, however, will not be autographed.

A Hand to Execute

After 16 years of single-handedly running the Times's Saigon bureau, the last thing veteran newsman Con Edwards needs is brash young cub reporter Jerry Muhl as his assistant. Not only is Jerry ignorant, arrogant and a bad reporter, he also seems to be moving in on Con's girlfriend. Then Jerry is shot and the evidence points to murder. Set around the time of the 1968 climactic Tet offensive mounted by the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese Army, this thriller does a good job of re-creating the confusion and corruption of that period.

The softspoken Southern aristocrat best known for king-sized cutlery and his glorious death at the Alamo, Jim Bowie remains a historical enigma surrounded by myth, half-truth and revisionist tinkering. This collaboration (Eickhoff most recently wrote a dark western, The Fourth Horseman, about Doc Holliday) continues the murky Bowie legend in a cacophony of more than 35 narrators who tell of Bowie's life (1796-1836), some recalling different details of the same events as seen from different perspectives and distanced by time. A loyal friend and deadly enemy, Bowie had a checkered career as a partner of slave trader and pirate Jean Lafitte (and was himself involved in suspicious land speculation with alleged forged land titles). Never one to run from a fight or ignore an insult, Bowie killed dozens of men in duels and brawls with Indians, assassins, robbers, bullies and card cheats. Although plagued by scandals and not always popular after a killing, Bowie was a natural leader, a trait that led him to Texas and the Alamo.
Then Came Christmas

On Thanksgiving Day, 1954, Samantha 'Sam' McCaslin was content with life on her family's ranch in South Dakota. It was her birthday, and to Sam and the family and friends that surrounded her, life was just beginning. She had just turned twelve and was certain that the year ahead of her would be a special one, as had all the years previous. But that world quickly shattered. Sam stumbles across the body of an Indian friend -a hired hand helping her father on the ranch. With her mother sick, Sam is determined to bring the magic of Christmas back to her family, and to the family of her murdered friend.
The Destruction of the Inn 
(The Ulster Cycle)

A hodgepodge of lusty elves, magical spells and powerful Druids augments this tale of greed and death the fourth installment of the Ulster Cycle translated from the Gaelic by Eickhoff (Fallon's Wake). One of Ireland's treasured legends, it traces the rise and fall of Conaire, king of Erin. Born to the granddaughter of ┬Éta¡n, a princess of the people of the elf-mounds, Conaire is fathered by a bird-man before his mother's marriage to Etersc‚l, king of Erin. At his mother's request, he is subsequently fostered by a shepherd, two warriors and herself. The benevolent king allows the sons of his most trustworthy warrior to be fostered with the prince as well. Closer than siblings, the four youths fill their days with practical jokes and boyish pursuits. Upon the death of the king, Conaire is called back to the castle by a bird-man messenger and instructed to rule his kingdom peacefully and wisely. When he is proclaimed king above his three foster brothers, jealousy rears its head, and they begin raiding the land until Conaire is forced to act, banishing them from the kingdom.
The Story of the Tiguas of Ysleta del Sur

Nonfiction. The Tigua Indians were the victims of cultural genocide beginning with the seventeenth century Spanish conquest when they were taken as slaves to what is the modern El Paso area. This book is the definitive history of that people and events


National Cowboy Hall of Fame & Western Heritage
Wrangler Award for Best Novel 2004

And Not to Yield

Born James Butler Hickok, Wild Bill Hickok made his reputation as a gunslinger extraordinaire, and his legend has titillated journalists, novelists, and historians ever since. Here is the story---crafted by a master novelist---of this complex hero whose exploits have become part of the lore of the American frontier.Nurtured by devout, staunchly Abolitionist parents, young Hickok quickly leaves their hardscrabble farm to homestead in Kansas. A true romantic and a Renaissance man, nourished by Greek and Arthurian legends, he effortlessly succeeds as a rancher, gambler, Union soldier, Indian fighter, lawman, baseball umpire, merchant, actor, marksman nonpareil---and lusty lover of whores, debutantes, and Libbie Custer.But Hickok's many talents could not bring him peace. Guided and plagued by phantoms from his past, blessed and cursed with supernatural gifts, Hickok, like his hero Ulysses, must fulfill his destiny through his travels. From bleak upstate New York to the rugged Badlands, from New York City's Broadway to the Rockies, from the Mississippi riverboats to the Great Salt Flats, here is the compelling Odyssey of an American icon, told in Randy Lee Eickhoff's unforgettable voice.

The Fourth Horseman

John Henry "Doc" Holliday first confronted death as an adolescent in Reconstruction Georgia in the mid-1860s. With Yankee carpetbaggers working diligently to strip what remained of southern dignity, young John shot a man when he bragged of molesting John's mother. After his father sent him away to protect him from the law, he gambled, drank, and immersed himself in the pleasures of the flesh. With the onset of tuberculosis, he went West, falling in with the Earp brothers and participating in the infamous shootout at the OK Corral. Eickhoff's Holliday is a symbol of the West itself, burning brightly but ever so briefly as encroaching civilization extinguished the flame
The Gombeen Man

The convoluted politics of Northern Ireland and the hatreds of generations permeate this fine, atmospheric thriller. In 1979 American reporter Con Edwards buries his friend Conor Larkin, a retired Irish Republican Army gunman shot on the docks of Manchester. Con joins forces with Maeve Nolan, Larkin's widow and a former lover of his own, to find the motive for the killing, which has drawn the interest of British security forces. Two attempts on their lives in England cause the couple to flee to Ireland and search for allies in treacherous crosscurrents of contending revolutionary groups--the Provos, the traditional IRA and NORAID (Irish Northern Aid Committee). Meanwhile, suspicion and anticipation surround the possibility of peace and prosperity offered by the Porcupine Banks Project, aimed at drilling for oil in the Irish Sea. The project's publicist, Liam Drumm, long a Provo, aids the search for Larkin's killer, which confirms the dead man's suspicion that there has been an informer--a gombeen man--in Provo ranks. Tracing the roots of the current troubles to 1971 Belfast, where both Maeve and Con were imprisoned and tortured, Eickhoff uncovers an unholy alliance as he builds suspense, its credibility heightened by reference to actual incidents and personages.
He Stands Alone 
(The Ulster Cycle)

One of the foremost authorities on the literary tradition of ancient Irish myths and legends takes an in-depth look at Ireland's chief hero, Cuchulainn. This fifth installment of the Ulster Cycle (after The Destruction of the Inn) is a series of interlocking stories that covers his life from birth to a battle with spirits from the underworld. Cuchulainn's warrior training parallels that of many legends from different cultures as he undergoes a series of tests of his ability to hunt, fight and earn the admiration of the fair sex. The most compelling chapters deal with his romance with Emer, starting with a courtship story in which the two would-be lovers invent a private, romantic language. Emer proves to be a worthy foil for Cuchulainn as their love evolves: she cautions him against doing battle with his impetuous son in what proves to be a tragic incident, then she tries to spark him in his fight against the demons

The Quick and the Dead

A decorated Vietnam veteran, professor of ancient Greek and of Gaelic, and author of 15 novels, Eickhoff returns with an affecting, sometimes brutally graphic Vietnam thriller. Benjamin "Wingo" Wingfoot leads an experimental special operations team deep into the upcountry to raid Vietcong attempting to move arms through the mountains into Laos. Summoned to CIA headquarters in Saigon, Wingo is ordered to assassinate a young Vietnamese prostitute suspected of spying for the North. Although he is hardened to killing, the spuriousness of the assignment troubles him, and he eventually decides to refuse the order. But before Wingo can report his decision, the woman is found horribly mutilated; despite his denials, the CIA abandons him to Vietnamese authorities. Convicted and sent to infamous Poulo Condore Island (the Nam equivalent of Devil's Island), Wingo escapes and returns to Saigon determined to find and kill the party responsible for framing him. The trail eventually leads to political ambition and treachery at the highest levels.

From Booklist: *Starred Review* For Benjamin Wingfoot, a Native American who'd once dreamed of teaching on the reservation, Vietnam in 1966 is a 24/7 miasma of heat, death, and behind-the-lines action. After months of combat up-country, Wingo has been given a new assignment: assassinate a Saigon prostitute named Lisa Lee. He can pick the time, the place, and the method; the only caveat is that it cannot appear political because, of course, it is. The girl is killed but not by Wingfoot; however, the Saigon police seem to know more about his mission than even he was told. As he struggles to clear himself, he learns how deeply corrupting the war has become. It takes all his intelligence and willpower to keep moral rot out of his soul. Eickhoff, who served in Vietnam, is the rare writer who can translate the fear, adrenaline rush, and amorality of combat to the page. His novel can be enjoyed both as a war story and a mystery, but it will resonate most as a modern Heart of Darkness. Outstanding.



The Red Branch Tales
(The Ulster Cycle)

Eickhoff has been writing novelistic translations of the great medieval Irish texts called the Ulster Cycle, sources of the stories of the greatest legendary Irish heroes. In this addition to the series, which includes The Raid (1997) and The Feast (1999), Eickhoff goes for the mythological gold--to wit, the tale of the great raid on northern Ulster by Queen Maeve of the western province of Connaught for the sake of a magical brown bull. This tale, the so-called Iliad of Ireland, is the centerpiece of an interconnected sequence of stories about its main characters: studly Fergus Mac Roich, unbeatable Cuchulainn, sorrowful Macha, evil but magical Cathbad, raped Nessa, sharp-tongued Aithirne, as well as queenly Maeve and the wild goddess who shadows her, the black-winged Morrigan. Eickhoff has kept true to the texts while employing a sleek modern tone that makes these great ancient tales accessible and vital.


Return to Ithaca
an autobiographical novel

The protagonist of Eickhoff's latest novel, an ambitious combination western and war story, is a guilt-ridden, melancholy veteran named Henry Morgan, one of the few survivors of an elite team dropped into the jungles of Vietnam to coordinate hit-and-run raids by montagnard tribesmen on Vietcong troops. Eickhoff explicitly likens Morgan to Odysseus, combining both of Homer's epics to encompass Morgan's time in Vietnam and his troublesome return to a country he no longer understands. From a Kentucky monastery, Morgan recounts his past: beginning four years after his insertion among the mountain tribesmen, he describes the death of his brother, Billy, during an attack after a villager defects to Hanoi. Morgan's CO, a scheming colonel named Black (possibly Agamemnon), manipulates Morgan into using the montagnards as expendable troops, a duty that eventually destroys Morgan's peace of mind. The narrative is punctuated at intervals by the voice of Dog (Tiresias), an old Sioux hand on the Morgan family ranch in the fictional Plains town of Ithaca who plays the role of chorus in Morgan's sad story. Eickhoff  is straightforward about his adaptation of the Greek epic to fit his semi-autobiographical tale (he was one of three survivors of a unit of 27 integrated with the montagnard tribesmen in the Vietnam highlands). Both the landscape and the emotional atmosphere of Vietnam are powerfully portrayed and one must admire Eickhoff's imaginative attempt to compare the haunting fate of Vietnam veterans, returned from brutal combat to a society that largely scorned them, to a classic narrative of a dislocated life.
The Feast
(The Ulster Cycle)

The current vogue for all things Celtic has spurred interest in the ancient mythological figures and tales of Ireland. Iron Age Celtic material was recorded in writing many hundreds of years later by Celtic monks who were not far removed from the values and ideals of their ancestors. Eickhoff, who previously recast the great epic Tain bo Cuailnge as the novel The Raid, now turns his attention to the Fled Bricrend, the feast of Bricriu. A sharp-tongued man, Bricriu has been banished from the high king's court for sowing dissension among the warriors. To retaliate, Bricriu stages a great feast, then sets the greatest warriors of Ulster, including the awesomely powerful Cuchulain, to arguing about who gets the "hero's portion," the greatest honor of any feast. Those looking for sentimental Irishness should go elsewhere, for there's plenty of magic and loads of sex in this sprawling, bawdy entertainment. Patricia Monaghan (Booklist)

The truly amazing part of Dr. Eickhoff's work is his uncanny ability to take a complex issue and relay it to the modern reader in the current syntax and lexicon without losing the nobility of the original. Dr. Eickhoff's work retains the dignity of Homer's work in places where dignity is needed while illustrating the bawdy behavior of those individuals who slipped from noble stature into human frailties. Dr. Eickhoff's ability to slip through time and relate to the modern reader a picture of Homer's time and the behavior patterns of the people is a gift. This is the best translation for these times and should be the translation used by academics and casual readers who wish to better understand the times and trials, the ways and means, hinted at by Homer and Hesiod and others and so often omitted by traditionalists. A superb job. --Edmund Spencer (The New York Times)

The Raid
(The Ulster Cycle)

Kirkus Reviews
The American author of a thriller set in Ireland (The Gombeen Man, 1992) retells the greatest Irish tale of them all, the mythical Tain--the greatest tale in the sense that, as with the Iliad and the Odyssey in Greek literature, all Irish literature descends from it. Also known as the Tain Bo Cualigne, and, in English, as The Cattle Raid of Cooley, the epic concerns the rise of a hero, Cuchulainn, whose forebears were gods, and who even as a child was a mighty warrior. The story opens with a comic argument between the king and queen of Connacht, a powerful province in ancient Ireland. As the two lie in bed after making love, they take an elaborate inventory of their holdings, which are absolutely equal except that King Ailill owns a massive bull with mythic procreative powers. Queen Maeve, jealous, learns of another such bull in the weak neighboring province of Ulster and musters her armies to capture him. Adventures galore take place on the march, and, in epic style, soldiers declaim on their prowess in battle and in bed (The Raid is remarkably graphic in its depictions both of killing and of lust). Although Eickhoff renders some passages in verse, for the most part he tries to give the great epic the form of a modern novel. It's episodic all the same, rather like one of Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian stories. The chief barbarian here, of course, is mighty Cuchulainn, who with strength, valor, and magic almost single-handedly defends Ulster from the invading Connachtmen, saving the mythic bull and securing his own immortality. As Eickhoff points out in his fine introduction, ``Sinn Fein'' means ``ourselves alone.'' Against the invading British, that is. A seamless blend of scholarship and storytelling, though perhaps too specialized for a wide American audience.

The Sorrows
(The Ulster Cycle)

Randy Lee Eickhoff continues his modern retelling of the Ulster Cycle, following his highly acclaimed versions of The Raid and The Feast. The Sorrows includes three stories that symbolically portray Ireland's cultural heritage. The first story, The Fate of the Chikldren of Tuirenn, is the Irish equivalent of the Greek legend of Jason and the Argonauts. The story of three brothers who must pay a "blood-fine" for murdering an enemy of their clan, the tale reflects the great sorrow of civil war, which has plagued Ireland for centuries. The Fate of the Children of Lir tells of an evil stepmother who, jealous of her husband's  four children, changes them into swans. After four hundred years they are released from their fate, reflecting the triumph of Christianity of paganism as well as the tragedy of the Irish being driven from their homeland. The final story, The Fate of the Children of Uisiliu, is more commonly known as the Story of Deirdre. In this tale, Conchobor, The Red Branch King, tries to force Deirdre to be his wife, symbolizing England's attempt to force the Irish into servitude and rendering Deirdre a tragic symbol of both ancient and modern Ireland. Filled with adventure and tragedy, The Sorrows provides another insightful look into Ireland's past through three of its most enduring tales.

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