In Noon Wine? a family struggling to live on a farm in Texas is saved by the unexpected arrival of a mysterious stranger—only to have their world upended again by the arrival, nine years later, of a second stranger. The three parts of Old Mortality introduce the teenager Miranda and chronicle her journey of self-discovery, as she gradually realizes her family’s romantic nostalgia for her absent uncle and late aunt bears little resemblance to the truth.
Miranda returns in the title story, Pale Horse, Pale Rider. She is now working as a drama critic for a newspaper in Denver, where she falls in love with a soldier, Adam, during the influenza epidemic of 1918. When Miranda falls ill, Adam cares for her until she is moved to a hospital. Throughout her ordeal, on everyone’s mind is “the war, the war, the WAR to end WAR, war for Democracy, for humanity, a safe world forever and ever.”
Available in this exclusive Library of America e-book edition