When I was asked by my editor to describe the provisional plot for The Reckoning, I replied, before I laid pen to paper - well, all right, finger tips to keyboard - that it was going to be a Western.
I'm a huge fan of the genre, though at the moment good ones are thin on the ground, while great ones are pretty well non-existent, if you discount the terrific TV series Hell on Wheels and, at a pinch, the excellent Westworld.
The remake of The Magnificent Seven, while perfectly watchable, wasn't a patch on the original, though I will concede that time does tend to blur the memory somewhat and if I sat down to watch Yul Brynner and Co now, then maybe my opinion would change.
Other recent efforts have come and gone: The Salvation , Bone Tomahawk, Tarantino's The Hateful Eight and, God help us, Cowboys and Aliens, but they didn't exactly set the screen alight, in my humble opinion.
What tends to happen these days is that oaters appear in a different guise, usually that of an urban thriller, often defined by a lone hero pitting himself against insurmountable odds, as illustrated by any number of private eye and revenge movies such as A walk Among the Tombstones and the revamp of The Equalizer or even The Expendables' romps. Then there are the dystopian and Sci-fi riffs, from Dredd to Guardians of the Galaxy.
I've always seen Hawkwood as an early 19th Century gunslinger and in The Reckoning I had him ranged against a callous adversary which saw the story end in what could only be termed as the period equivalent of a lethal shoot-out.
Not for the first time, TV comes along to save the day. Latest classic example: the utterly brilliant Peaky Blinders.
From what I've seen of the trailer for the 4th season, due to premier tonight on Beeb 2, there are gonna be shoot-outs galore as Brummie gangster Tommy Shelby and his lads face new threats to their growing empire.
GIven the storyline, the characters, saloon brawls, gunfights and the showdowns, if Peaky Blinders doesn't carry on the tradition of the urban Western, I don't know what does.