11-16-2013 09:51 AM
I believe either a word like Frontier, Outpost or Outland was in the title. I have searched unsuccessfully several times for this particular book. I do not know the author's name.
The book was about a military leader or political figure responsible for an outpost on the edge of a frontier. His job was to keep the natives at bay. He had a certain empathy towards the natives and was at relative peace with them. After a period of time, headquarters thought he was not heavy-handed enough towards the natives. A replacement was sent, and the original leader was temporally detained and beaten. The new outpost leader sent out troops to round up natives and bring them back to the outpost. When they were brought back, they were brutalized and the children at the outpost were given sticks to beat the tied up captives. After several days or weeks, The head commandant, overseeing the project, arrived from the city, told the original outpost leader that he was relieved of his position and free to go. He than lead a brutal campaign against the natives. Eventually the head commandant and his men were captured by the natives. The head commandant was killed in a not so pleasent manner, secured on a cross of sorts that was then strapped to a horse, then sent back to the outpost. One of the last scenes, as I remember, was guards from the outpost seeing a lone horse approaching in the distant, and as it got closer, the fate of their commandant became apparent.
There is no reference to any time period or location in the book which leads the reader to speculate whether it was in the past, in the future, or even on this planet. This lends a certain mystique to the book.