From The Washington Post: With Blood and Thunder, Hampton Sides has taken an implausibly broad canvas of time, people and events and created a brilliantly realized portrait on an epic scale. The United States conquest of the Southwest involved territory ranging from St. Louis to Mexico City and California, as well as a large array of principal figures. Sides has wisely chosen Christopher "Kit" Carson and Santa Fe as the human and geographical touchstones. Carson was the consummate frontiersman, who had traveled widely across the West as a trapper, scout and adventurer long before the events of the Mexican War brought his abilities to the attention of the U.S. military. Illiterate but fluent in five Indian languages as well as Spanish, he'd had two Native American wives before marrying into an old Spanish family from Taos. Carson, who seems often to have been at the right place at the right (or wrong) time, had a deep understanding of the complex clash of cultures taking place. And yet his ultimate devotion to duty and patriotism earned him an enmity among the Navajo that extends to the present day. In Sides's depiction, Carson was a humble loner who became an unflinching killer when circumstances or superiors demanded it.