The Ghosts Of Watt O’Hugh by Steven S. Drachman (book review).

This is the first book in a series of novels by the American author, Steven S. Drachman. The first print run was a sell-out but the next lot should be available by the end of May 2014.


How would you describe Watt O’Hugh? The character is rather difficult to pin down but if you had to stretch the imagination you could possibly call him a time travelling cowboy. As far as real explanations go in the novel, you will get some of the truth but not all of it because he wants to keep you on the trail, a long and difficult trail with lots more than cattle and horses to accompany you on the way. The character created by Steven S Drachman is rather enigmatic, a super-hero with a cowboy hat but with human frailties and weaknesses!

It’s written in a somewhat engaging style, pleasant to read and quite poetic. However, it does ramble on at times, maybe like the cattle trail. The cowboy has the ability to travel through time, as will be explained during the text, and also has a penchant for a girl called Lucy. It’s this romantic attachment which keeps him going through all the misadventures he encounters, including incarceration in a Wyoming jail. Before that, he is a veteran from the American Civil War, a native of New York who grew up in the slums and the star of a Wild West Show.

When I grew up westerns were continually on the TV with too many shows to mention. There were a few links to Science Fiction which included an episode of ‘Lost In Space’ with Warren Oates, the movie series ‘Back To The Future’, film 3, and a recent debacle called ‘Cowboys And Aliens’. Maybe we were saturated with westerns all these years ago and on discovering it never really happened, only a Hollywood myth, we became disenchanted with the genre. Drachman probably doesn’t go down this way because he paints a picture which is more realistic of the Old West as it was in 1870. Mention is made of the riots in New York where black people were lynched mainly because they were black. This incident had a profound effect on the character Watt, giving him a sense of morality which directed his actions thereafter.

The time travelling almost takes on ‘Doctor Who’ proportions. He meets up with Chinese from 2000 years ago and gets involved in complicated plots which could affect everything and everyone. Despite being up against lots of violence and villains, it’s Lucy and her historical period which is his main preoccupation, his oasis in the desert of time. When all is said and done, this book is a jolly good romp, pleasant to read and very entertaining. It’s being released with the second book in the series and there will probably be more in the future.

Okay, it’s a Science Fiction Western but it is nothing like ‘Cowboys And Aliens’. That’s an association which is probably automatically made but far from the truth in this case. I would more describe it as a time novel with a character from America based in the late 19th century. It’s a well-written book which certainly deserves some attention!

Rod MacDonald

April 2014

(pub: Steven S. Drachman. 214 page paperback. Price: £ 8.95 (UK). ISBN: 978-0-57808-590-6)

check out website:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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