Mystery, intrigue, gunplay--and the launch of a promising new historical action series

Historical Adventure Fiction 

Rescuing Crockett 

David Z. Pyke 

Leonard Street Publishing 

June 13, 2023

ISBN:13-9781959440017, 378 pages


There is a strong reason why Denton author David Z. Pyke announces right up front that his new book, Rescuing Crockett, is fiction and not an effort to create "an alternate theory of Texas history." 


Texas writers often find out that it can be very risky to mess with Texas history, especially Alamo history. When you do, avid (and sometimes livid) aficionados of the Texas Revolution may confront you and tell you every detail they think you've gotten wrong or failed to include in your text. 


Rescuing Crockett is historical adventure fiction. It has scenes depicting a mixture of real historical figures, but the book's fictional characters are its main stars.  


Pyke states that he has "attempted to be faithful to the historical record as long as that record fit the narrative of the novel. When it did not, I went my own way."  


Officially (at least in Texas), David "Davy" Crockett died heroically defending the Alamo after it was overrun by an overwhelming number of Mexican troops. However, there apparently are more than a dozen conflicting firsthand accounts of Crockett's fate during or after the battle. And rumors have long persisted that Crockett somehow survived and escaped or surrendered and was executed or was sentenced to hard labor in a Mexican prison or simply vanished back into the wild frontier. 


Rescuing Crockett, the debut book in Pyke's planned "Silas Grant" historical adventure series, does indeed involve a Crockett survival rumor. But the work opens two years after the fall of the Alamo and is a coming-of-age tale, mystery story, and action-adventure novel rolled into one, with some Texas frontier romance on the side.  


Silas Grant, a teenage Texian (citizen of the new Republic of Texas) whose home is in the Brazos River Valley, has been learning blacksmithing and frontier skills from his father and veterans of the Texas Revolution. Silas himself had small roles in the Revolution. He melted lead to make bullets, repaired weapons, and drove a wagon loaded with wounded Texians to safety in Gonzales on the day the Alamo fell. 


One day, Silas and two other Texians (Sam McCulloch and Henry Wax Karnes) are asked to escort a representative of the United States government to a secret meeting with several other Texian veterans in San Antonio. There, Silas and the others are shown a sketch and told stunning news: It's possible Crockett may still be alive. The Texians all knew and admired Crockett and volunteer to try to find the truth. 


Once Silas and other investigators finally work their way close to what may or may not be the truth, the young man realizes he now faces some dire choices. Among them is the vow he had made back home to Emily, the love of his life, that he would stay safe and return to her.  


Pyke writes: 


Silas's pulse quickened. He was invading a foreign country and going into combat. It was impossible to imagine that the Texians could avoid a fight before this was finished. In the next forty-eight hours, men would try to kill him, and he would try to kill them. He had known this for weeks, that this quest meant risking his life. But there was knowing it and there was coming face to face with the reality of it. 


The Texians do indeed have to fight to get the truth. And surprising twists occur. 


Pyke believes firmly that the real David "Davy" Crockett died at the Alamo, and the author can claim an important Alamo connection of his own. His great-great-great-great-great-granduncle, Isaac Millsaps, was one of the "Immortal 32" members of the small Texian Militia unit from the Gonzales Ranger Company that answered William Barret Travis's desperate call for help. The Rangers raced to the Alamo on horseback and died there in battle on March 6, 1836. 


"The death of David Crockett is a case study in the fallibility of witness testimony," Pyke writes in his historical notes section. He has, he adds, "attempted to be faithful to the historical record as long as that record fit the narrative of the novel. When it did not, I went my own way." 


In Rescuing Crockett, Pyke uses the long-lingering questions about David Crockett as an effective springboard for his novel and series. Silas Grant emerges as an intelligent young frontiersman who is also a sharpshooter with a Hawken rifle, good with knives, and quick with his strong fists. Plenty of nineteenth-century adventures can lie ahead for him. 

David Z. Pyke has always been a writer. His relationship with words began in elementary school, where he read Beowulf and Dracula by the time he was 10 years old. He wrote his first stories for newspapers when he was 15 and has written professionally for 47 years.  His passion stems from his heritage: Pyke is a native Texan related to one of the Alamo defenders.  

In 1991, a mutual friend introduced David to Suzanne, an English literature teacher from Missouri. Their first date was on a Friday the 13th. She later confessed that before that first date, she read some of his stories to make sure he could write. Apparently, he received a passing grade. They were engaged five months later, married four months after that, and in 2022 celebrated their 30th anniversary.