Journey, a Western is Baltimore-born author Stephen H. Foreman’s latest novel. He discusses it here exclusively with Voice of Baltimore and will do so again publicly June 17th at The Ivy Bookshop.

Journey, A Western is Baltimore-born author Stephen H. Foreman’s latest novel. He discusses it here exclusively on Voice of Baltimore and will do so again publicly at a June 17th reading at The Ivy Bookshop on Falls Road.


Stephen Foreman grew up here
and was locally educated,
a graduate of City College
and Morgan State University
What follows is a brief synopsis of the novel, available at The Ivy Bookshop and on (Click  here  and here.)  Excerpts will be published by Voice of Baltimore in coming weeks.
By Stephen H. Foreman
Set in the early eighteen hundreds in the wild desert wilderness of New Mexico Territory, the novel Journey, A Western follows the lives of three distinctly different characters whose destinies are one.

There’s Journey herself – the name is short for Sojourner — a fiercely inde- pendent, horse-whispering 16-year- old of mysterious origins. Reuben Moon, the stoic half-Mexican, half- Apache hunter/tracker who raises her. And Esau Burdock, a brutal and pragmatic, wealthy slave trader.

The story opens on a November night in 1833, the sky on fire with meteors, each character alone, experiencing the storm. The narrative then delves into their individual histories.

Journey is born to a runaway slave who dies giving birth to her in the wilderness. Reuben comes upon the scene and manages to save the baby’s life. He raises her with Prita, a noseless Apache woman who was exiled for adultery, and Joel and Leah, a Quaker couple involved in the Underground Railroad.

Reuben loses both his parents by the time he is eight, his mother to cholera and his father to a Comanche raid. After witnessing the murder, he is raised as a Comanche captive. With an unnervingly natural talent for horses, he lives among them, and is eventually allowed as a young man to go free.

Esau is born to a petty criminal on the streets of London and is caught red handed at age 14 and given a choice: hang or go to New Orleans in indentured servitude. Over the years he claws his way up the ranks, and through grit and many would say evil, becomes a massively successful plantation master in New Mexico Territory.


Journey, Reuben, and Esau’s stories collide in the summer of 1834 when Esau holds a rendezvous of horse racing and trading.

Despite being only 16, and a girl at that, Journey joins the race. She doesn’t win, but she’s caught the attention of Esau. A year later, a mountain lion is terrorizing the area and Esau comes across Journey and Reuben in the desert as he hunts for it.

Journey has tamed a wild colt. The lion had killed its mother and then attacked the colt, but Journey rescues it and nurses it back to health. Esau claims the colt is his by the law of the land. Journey refuses to give him up and so Esau threatens to hang her on the spot.

Instead, they make a deal: Journey can work at Esau’s stables for six months to earn the horse.

And so she does. All the while the mountain lion continues to kill and Esau broods. He is a successful man, but he is a lonely one too, haunted by the death of his first slave and lover, Livy, and by their daughter Lily Rose, both of whom betrayed him and are now dead.


The story comes to a fever pitch when Esau spots a necklace Journey has worn her whole life, given to her by her mother, a necklace once worn by Esau’s dead daughter, Lily Rose. There’s a fight and a fire and a dramatic escape followed by an even more dramatic capture.

Despite knowing Journey is his kin, or perhaps because of it, Esau publicly whips her. After her twentieth lash, just before he’s about to have her branded, Reuben heroically appears and stops him.

It’s time for another deal: Esau says he’ll sell Journey to Reuben for three thousand dollars. Reuben doesn’t have that kind of money, but it’s the exact amount as the bounty Esau has promised for the mountain lion. Reuben will kill the mountain lion to win Journey’s freedom.

The tale explodes with action in its final chapter as Journey escapes to help Reuben kill the lion, and Esau follows. Culminating in a brutal fight between man, lion, and horse, freedom prevails.

The lion is dead, Esau is wounded, Reuben is alive, and Journey is free.

Baltimore-born novelist Stephen H. Foreman grew up in Windsor Hills and graduated from Baltimore City College and Morgan State University.

Baltimore-born novelist Stephen H. Foreman grew up in Windsor Hills and graduated from Baltimore City College (1958) and Morgan State University.

Stephen H. Foreman is a novelist and screenwriter born and raised in Baltimore whose novels Toehold and Watching Gideon were published by Simon & Schuster in 2007 and 2009 respectively.

His script for “The Jazz Singer” starred Neil Diamond and Laurence Olivier in a 1980 remake of the Al Jolson classic of 1927. He also scripted a 1988 television film, “Hostage,” starring Carol Burnett and Burnett’s now-deceased daughter Carrie Hamilton.

Foreman is a 1958 graduate of Baltimore City College, earned a B.A. from Morgan State University, and obtained a Master of Fine Arts Degree from the prestigious Yale School of Drama.

Before moving to California he taught writing at a number of colleges and universities, trekked across the Alaska wilderness, bushwhacked through tropical rain forests, and hunted for gold mines in Arizona.

He now makes his home at West Kill in New York’s Catskill Mountains with his wife and two children and is currently at work on his memoir, “The Education of A White Boy.”  (Read his initial contribution to Voice of Baltimore — an autobiographical entry — by clicking here.)
Journey, A Western is published by Skyhorse Publishing (2017) — click here  for additional information.  For Skyhorse press release (including selected commentary), click on this link: 
Journey PR_Final

One Response to “JOURNEY, A NOVEL — A Western by a ‘Boy from Baltimore’”

  1. Margo Christie

    Sounds intriguing. Best wishes to the author.

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