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Reviews

A well spun tale.

By carmelbyseaon December 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

First part of what should be a fine trilogy. The author provides us with a story, part fact and part fiction, that chronicles the early life of his great grandfather, Billy Battles. In this first novel in a series, Billy’s early adventures (from the 1870s through 1880s) and his encounters with Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and a host of other western heroes and villains are told … along with some very precise and accurate accounts of those times. A well spun tale.


Kudos to Yates for a thumping good read!

By slammedon December 30, 2014
Format: Paperback

Billy Battles wasn’t looking for trouble, but trouble found him and stayed hot on his trail through the Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and just kept on following him…

The adventure gallops through the 1880’s and ’90’s old west through a land as wide open as the sky and wild as the day is long. Through Billy’s eyes we meet the famous Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp and his brothers, Doc Holliday as well as the lesser known but colorful figures of the old west, and we discover them as they truly were – men with strengths and weaknesses and we learn their fate that made those strong but everyday men into icons of the west.

Yates peppers this well written novel with colorful metaphors and language of the old west that makes you grin and shake your head at the same time. The history of places like Dodge, Denver and Tombstone is well researched and it’s so much fun to read that you don’t realize you’re learning history while experiencing the adventure right along with Billy Battles – through his battles and his loves and his losses.

Kudos to Yates for a thumping good read!


Exciting and Engaging!

By Michael S.on December 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

In Finding Billy Battles, Ronald Yates begins with a larger than life character named Billy Battles. Billy bequeaths his lifelong journals to his great grandson, and requests that he be the one to tell Billy’s story. It is a history of a man with ties to great events both in western American and global history. Billy’s adventures have taken him across the world and through harrowing situations. The scenes that this book will take your mind through are reminiscent of another time that is at once both better and worse than the state of the world today. I have always loved Westerns, and this book was no disappointment. Falling somewhere between Louis L’Amour and Cormac McCarthy, Finding Billy Battles is a book that anyone who dreams of the old American West will enjoy. I cannot wait for the next two installments of this trilogy.


Like You Were There

By M. McManuson January 23, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

William Fitzroy Raglan Battles was born in 1860. Soon after his birth, his family moved to Lawrence, Kansas where he grew up and received his education, which included two years of college. At age 18 Billy, as he was called by most people, traveled west to Dodge City and began his career as a journalist, a career that would prove exciting and, for him, dangerous. In the next 15 years he would travel through the Old West, which was struggling to change its status from “frontier” to “civilization”. He would meet many people and befriend the likes of Bat Masterson, Doc Holiday and the Earp brothers. Unfortunately, he would also come to know some folks who were quite unfriendly, like the Bledsoe brothers and their gang of thugs and murderers.

Billy Battles is a gentleman who never backs down from a fight. Although his early years were spent on a farm in the newly settled state of Kansas, he grew up in the city. However, he was all right with venturing off to the rough mining towns, like Leadville, Tombstone, Denver and Las Vegas. Backed up by his legendary friends, he always made it through the bad times, but not always unscathed. His was not a charmed life, but it did turn out to be a long one.

“Finding Billy Battles” is the first book of the trilogy of the same name. The author, Ronald E. Yates, himself a journalist, has given us a work of fiction that contains so much factual information about people and places, and presents it with such authenticity, using quaint but graphic dialogue spoken in the day, that you will swear it is based on a real person’s life. This book was an absolute pleasure to read. It kept me in the middle of the action and taunted me with brilliant foreshadowing of upcoming events. I cannot wait to read the next book in this series.


It made me want to learn more….

By Suanne Laqueuron March 21, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

A rollicking, fast-paced read about the Wild West (and beyond) with historical detail only possible by one who was there. More light-hearted and fun than “Lonesome Dove” but no less authentic in its narrative. I had a ball reading it through a snowy winter and learned a few things about a bygone time. One of the greatest compliments I can pay a book is to say it made go look up people, places and events mentioned within its pages. If a story sparks my curiosity to keep learning, THAT is a great book.


Exciting and Engaging!

By Michael S.on December 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

In Finding Billy Battles, Ronald Yates begins with a larger than life character named Billy Battles. Billy bequeaths his lifelong journals to his great grandson, and requests that he be the one to tell Billy’s story. It is a history of a man with ties to great events both in western American and global history. Billy’s adventures have taken him across the world and through harrowing situations. The scenes that this book will take your mind through are reminiscent of another time that is at once both better and worse than the state of the world today. I have always loved Westerns, and this book was no disappointment. Falling somewhere between Louis L’Amour and Cormac McCarthy, Finding Billy Battles is a book that anyone who dreams of the old American West will enjoy. I cannot wait for the next two installments of this trilogy.


An Addictive and Amazing Read

By Veritas Vinciton July 22, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Don’t let the cover of this book fool you; it’s one of the most entertaining and adventurous reads I’ve gotten my hands on in a long time. When I read the premise, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to get involved in reading a few hundred pages of journal entries and reminiscences, but I thought I would give it a try. I found myself transported completely, in a way that so few authors can genuinely do. The environment, the characters, the vernacular and the overall tone of the book never faltered, and Yates was able to hold my attention seemingly effortlessly. I usually don’t read for hours straight, but the time literally flew as I journeyed with Billy Battles through a spectacularly fascinating life. It was as though the author had truly been there at that time, and that direct connection through journal entries and source material was so obvious. It’s so difficult to honestly convey another time, or another place, without some sort of reference point, and Yates certainly had that.

I have spent a considerable amount of time researching my own family and tracing back their history into the past. It’s a wonderful way to understand where we came from and where we’re going, and I wonder what other revelations are in store for us as readers, and for Yates as a writer, in the coming books. I am also intrigued to see the shift in tone; this “wild west” section of Battles’ life seems torn from the pages (or the screen) of a classic western, but watching this same character adapt and grow into new locales, just as he did throughout this first book, will be a fascinating development to watch. I’m thoroughly impressed and excited to see more from this author. It turns out that instantaneous travel through time and space is possibly, but it requires you to read this book and let it pull you in.


Selected Reviews for The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battle
(Book 2 of the Finding Billy Battles trilogy)

Intrigued and fascinated by the larger-than-life Billy Battles and the author’s skilled storytelling

By Amazon Customer on June 7, 2016
Format: Paperback

You can’t help but be intrigued and fascinated by the intrepid, larger-than-life protagonist in Ronald Yates’ entertaining and thoughtful second book of his Finding Billy Battles trilogy. This time, you see how Billy’s tumultuous life begins to impact him in middle age as he seeks his next adventures to distract him from past grief and guilt. Yates has an effective way of revealing interesting details of exotic places during historic periods–this time primarily in the Orient of the late 19th and early 20th centuries–while weaving in a fascinating tale of a man in perpetual motion. One can’t help but find interesting parallels at Yates’ deft hand between Billy’s unrest and that of French Indochina and the Philippines during a time of conflict and pushback over European colonization. — Ray Elliott, author of “With the Silent Knowledge,” “Iwo Blasted Again” and “Wild Hands Toward the Sky”


 A Story You can’t Put Down Until You Finish.

By John W. Howell on June 19, 2016
Format: Paperback

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Trilogy Book Two) by Ronald E. Yates

Ron Yates has an engaging style of writing that grabs the reader in the first few paragraphs and doesn’t let go until the end. His second book deals with another chapter in the life of Billy Battles. Book one was a delight and centered on Billy’s rough and tumble life on the Kansas plains and his dealings with the likes of Bat Masterson and other heroes of the West. Billy is a correspondent who sees life through a reporter’s eyes.

The second book begins in 1894 and Billy is off on an adventure to the Orient on a ship appropriately named SS China. While on the SS China he meets the lovely widow Baroness Katharina von Schreiber. She is a very attractive person who Billy finds it difficult turning down any request she has of him. The Baroness is a person of interest in Germany since there are questions regarding her involvement in her husband’s murder. Before the voyage is complete, Billy must deal with special agents hired by the German government bent on returning Katharina to Germany. Now if all this sounds like the whole story, please be assured this is just one piece. Billy goes on to fight pirates, the Anti-French insurgency in Indochina, and the Spanish-American War in the Philippines.

As you can imagine this story has enough history and action for any reader. Mr. Yates spends lots of time developing the tableau with a richness that is pleasing and rewarding for those who crave depth’ in their novels. I always evaluate a book by how much sleep I lose in not wanting to put it down. The second book of The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is a five cups of coffee the morning after winner. This story is so good and the writing so superb I would recommend this book to anyone.


The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles

By Stacie Theis on June 12, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles finds William Battles in the 1890’s on a steamship headed to the Far East in an effort to escape the pain of losing his wife. The adventure Billy finds is much more than he bargained for and he finds himself in life or death situations on several occasions. Billy encounters many colorful characters from history and each event seems to shape him into a remarkable man who lives a full and abundant life.

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is an intriguing story of struggles and triumphs in American history, at home and abroad, as experienced by William Battles. As the second book in the trilogy, I have to say the author did not disappoint. Picking up right where the first book, Finding Billy Battles, left off I was immediately engrossed. As a gifted storyteller the author draws readers in with his vivid details, rich characters and a plot so mesmerizing I didn’t want it to end.

I definitely recommend picking up a copy.


The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is a journey worth your time.

By Cold Coffee Cafe on June 17, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles is the sequel to Finding Billy Battles. I jumped right into this book without reading the first in this trilogy and found it to be a compelling story based on fact and expanded by narrative fiction.

Ted Sayles who is the great-grandson of Billy Battles inherits Billy’s journals and while writing this trilogy he stays very true to the language of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. While this book opens in 1894 with William (Billy) Battles heading for the Orient aboard the SS China it covers his time in the Far East, Latin America, and Europe.

It is aboard the SS China that Billy meets German Baroness Katharina von Schreiber. She is gorgeous and regal, far out of reach of a Kansas scribbler (journalist). Since you have probably read the book’s description I wrestle with what to share with you from this amazing story and journey that Billy Battles is about to embark on. So I have decided to quote this passage to whet your appetite. I quote:

“Katharina’s cabin was a bit larger than mine was, and like mine, its walls were covered with dark mahogany panels. In addition to the two overstuffed chairs and writing table, she also had a small dining table. That is where we settled, she on one side and me on the other.
“I’m sorry, I have nothing to offer you to drink.” Then she paused, stood up, and walked to her wardrobe where she produced a tear-shaped bottle of Glenglassaugh single malt Scotch whiskey and two heavy cut crystal glasses. “Except for this.”

She returned and placed the glasses on the table in front of us. “May I?” she asked, and then uncorking the bottle, she poured two fingers in each glass. “This was my late husband’s favorite.”
I shuddered imperceptibly at that remark but pulled the glass toward me anyway. Images of Katharina pushing Baron von Schreiber over a cliff or poisoning him with arsenic-laced Wiener schnitzel flooded my mind.

I forced those macabre thoughts out of my mind by focusing on the rich amber hue of the whiskey as I uneasily swirled the glass around and around in front of me.

What was I doing? I found myself thinking. Why was I in Katharina Schreiber’s cabin about to drink expensive single malt Scotch whiskey with a woman who had just admitted she had killed, but not murdered, her husband?”

Murder, mystery, intrigue, people, places and events that were intended to divert Billy’s attention from his past soon gets him embroiled in Katharina’s past, with the German government, not to mention Chinese and Malay pirates. Later on he finds himself perhaps the first American to be involved in the Anti-French insurgency in Indochina which will later be called Vietnam and involve America. War will not end there as he is forced into the Spanish-American War while in the Philippines.

Just as life takes many unexpected turns for Billy Battles so will your desire to keep turning the pages of this book to find out what is it about Billy Battles that causes him to try to escape his past, endure his new reality and find measured peace as he heads into the twilight of his life.

I invite you to read The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles as it is a journey worth your time. Be sure to read Finding Billy Battles (book one in this trilogy) while waiting for the author to write the final book in this amazing trilogy.

Author Ronald E. Yates life experience as a foreign correspondent for the Chicago Tribune in Japan, China, Southeast Asia, and Central and South America gives him the authority with which he writes. It is important to point out he won “three Pulitzer Prize nominations and several other awards, including the Peter Lisagor Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; The Inter-American Press Association Award for coverage of South America; and three Edward Scott Beck Awards for international reporting. He is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He lives in Murrieta, California.”

Cold Coffee Press/ Café endorses The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles (Trilogy Book Two) by Ronald E. Yates. Ronald E. Yates is the author of the Finding Billy Battles (book one in this trilogy) and The Kikkoman Chronicles: A Global Company with A Japanese Soul, Aboard The Tokyo Express: A Foreign Correspondent’s Journey Through Japan as well as three journalism textbooks: The Journalist’s Handbook, International Reporting and Foreign Correspondents, and Business and Financial Reporting in a global Economy. We reviewed this book from Kindle/PDF format. The review was completed on June 17, 2016.

The Improbable Journeys of Billy Battles: Book 2, Finding Billy Battles Trilogy