The Swan Range -- Books and Stories by Carol Buchanan


"Carol Buchanan is an historian with a novelist's ear capable of rending the individual voices of character into the orchestral narrative of a sweeping story." (Craig Johnson, author of the Longmire series of contemporary Western novels and creator of the Longmire TV series on Netflix)

Whitefish Pilot Article published August 24, 2022


The Whitefish Community Library presented award-winning author Carol Buchanan in a program on the Vigilantes of Montana during the summer of 2022.

Buchanan is the author of four highly acclaimed historical novels set in Montana, on the Vigilantes: God's Thunderbolt, The Devil in the Bottle, Gold Under Ice, and The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock.

Writing about pioneers and ruffians, she won a Western Writers of America Spur Award for God's Thunderbolt, which the late Montana novelist, Richard S. Wheeler, called " of the greatest historical novels set in Montana."

The sequel, Gold Under Ice, was awarded a top Spur Finalist, and the Whitefish Library Association honored Buchanan with the "Spirit of Dorothy Johnson" award at a gala book festival in 2016.

Buchanan is now at work on the fifth novel in the series, A Time of Trial.

God's Thunderbolt

"While your published books are fictional, you have very credible historical underpinnings to your works. I enjoyed God's Thunderbolt, especially the portion involving Stark's cross-examination of George Ives's alibi witness over the details of their card game." (Hon. Mark C. Dillon, Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division. Author, Montana Vigilantes 1863 - 1870: Gold, Guns, and Gallows)

The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock

  • "Buchanan offers a murder mystery that is set during a formative time in Montana's history. It is an absorbing period, when the laws were unclear and so much rested on their creation and enforcement. The story is based on true events, and the author wisely populates the town of Virginia City with characters that really lived or are modeled on those who did (such as Stark). Stark is a compelling, complicated hero, one of several finely drawn characters who bring the Old West to life." (Kirkus Reviews, 2016, about The Ghost at Beaverhead Rock).

Gold Under Ice

  • "Carol Buchanan Strikes it Rich with Gold Under Ice " (The Billings Gazette)
  • The Great Falls Tribune said, "Gold Under Ice brings Montana's gold camps to life in a story of action and adventure, larceny and love, all rooted in history."
  • Dave Reuss of Outside Bozeman wrote that Gold Under Ice is a "gripping Montana tale with meticulous historical research by a talented Montana writer. Any fan of historical fiction should check it out."

The Devil in the Bottle