The ugly fact is books are made out of books... The novel depends for its life on the novels that have been written.
What books is Blood Meridian made out of? Well, to get a feel for this novel, imagine:
... if the boys from Lord of the Flies, after killing Simon and Piggy, killed Ralph, too, found a ship, and sailed to the American southwest and continued their rampage there.
... if Huck Finn fled his abusive father and found not a compassionate and resourceful runaway slave but a felon with a brand on his forehead and missing ears, and after beating the shit out of each other, they teamed up to burn down a hotel.
... if Vladimir and Estragon finally stopped waiting and went to town and found Godot’s head floating in a jar of mescal.
... if the Iliad's recurrent slaughter and the Odyssey's aimless wandering were combined in a single epic.
... if Dean Moriarty and Sal Paradise went on the road riding horses and carrying huge pistols and taking scalps as souvenirs.
... if Lear and his fool took not to the heath but to a bonestrewn desert wearing robes of meat and alternating between legalistic sweet-talk and murder.
The surprising thing is how funny this novel also manages to be.