Blood Meridian is a 1985 epic Western novel by Cormac McCarthy based on historical events involving the Glanton gang. A bleaker picture of life in the West you could never hope to read. I read it because it is considered this author's masterpiece. I found it on a list of greatest American novels. It leaves a definite impression. It's not an easy read.
from the back of the book:
By the author of the critically acclaimed Border Trilogy, Blood Meridian is an epic novel of the violence and depravity that attended America's westward expansion, brilliantly subverting the conventions of the Western novel and the mythology of the "Wild West." Based on historical events that took place on the Texas-Mexico border in the 1850s, it traces the fortunes of the Kid, a fourteen-year-old Tennessean who stumbles into a nightmarish world where Indians are being murdered and the market for their scalps is thriving.The Guardian says, "Blood Meridian is the Inferno of our time, though the architecture has changed. Hell here is an open desert landscape, an endless journey past demonic shapes and beings living and dead." The New Canon includes it in its consideration of great works of fiction since 1985. Harold Bloom calls it the "ultimate Western" and says, "It culminates all the aesthetic potential that Western fiction can have. I don’t think that anyone can hope to improve on it, that it essentially closes out the tradition."
NPR calls it "the authentic American apocalyptic novel" and "a canonical imaginative achievement, both an American and a universal tragedy of blood" and offers a short excerpt. Kirkus Reviews concludes, "Grandiose, feverish, opaque."