Old Surehand I was written by Karl May a year after the publication of Winneotu I (1893). With the help of Old Wabble, the “King of the Cowboys”, Old Shatterhand wants to free the mysterious westerner Old Surehand from the hands of hostile Indians. Winnetou later joins them. In the Llano Estacado desert they will then need to devise a smart strategy to save a group of cavalry troops from an imminent Comanche attack.
Old Shatterhand and Winnetou always prioritize negotiating with their enemies rather than taking up arms and causing many unnecessary victims. So what’s interesting in this book is not the thrill of bloody battles between whites and Indians but how readers are invited to understand Old Shatterhand and Winnetou’s various clever strategies in defeating the enemy without the need to shot a single bullet.
This is an adventure story with high moral and religious values. For example, when the reckless, atheist Old Wable challenged Shatterhand to prove the existence of God, Shatterhand replies:
As it is written in the Bible, it is difficult for you to hold fast to your beliefs. I am sure that one day God will show you a real proof. (…) The only thing that can help you is prayer. May God bless and love you, even if you don’t believe and pray to Him.
Old Surehand’s mysterious past make readers curious about who the character really is. Karl May skillfully exposed the Old Surehand identity bit by bit. The mystery surrounding his identity is going to be revealed in the following volumes, Old Surehand II and Old Surehand III.
- Author: Robert Karl Friedrich May (1842-1912)
- Original title: Old Surehand
- Original language: German
- Genre: Adventure novel
- Publication year: 1894-1897
- Public: Adults, teenagers