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As a man, Tom has put all of that behind him--until Danny is charged with murder. In the chaos of war, his son has been caught in a violent skirmish gone bloodily awry, and the Army needs someone to pay for the mistake. Shocked into action, Tom confronts the violence in his past and fights to save the son he'd let slip away. As father and son struggle to understand one another, they also learn the true meaning of bravery.
THE BRAVE lives up to its name--a courageous and full-hearted novel, beautifully interlacing the past and present with Evans's trademark masterful storytelling.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-07-05
- Reviewer: Staff
As a student at the Ashlawn Preparatory School in 1959 England, eight-year-old, cowboy-crazy Tommy Bedford, the hero of Evans's latest outdoor soap opera, is teased for being a bed wetter and gets the shock of his young life when he learns that his sister, glamorous "Next Big Thing" actress Diane Reed, is really his mother. Soon afterwards, she and Tommy move to L.A., where Diane falls for TV cowboy Ray Montane, and their tortured relationship leads to a horrifying act of violence that has lifelong repercussions for Tommy. In a parallel, present-day plot, 50-ish Tom, now a writer and documentary filmmaker who specializes in the American West, lives in Montana, is divorced and estranged from his adult son, Danny, who has been accused of committing an atrocity while serving in Iraq, for which he will be tried in a military court. Alternating past and present, Evans expertly juggles his twin narratives until they come shatteringly together as father and son yield to the combined weight of the secrets they hide. Combining elements of the prep school drama, the Hollywood novel, the western, and the war story, Evans (The Horse Whisperer) skillfully mixes genres to create a real crowd-pleaser. (Oct.)
Deceits from the past hold writer hostage in the present
Meet Tom Bedford. Like Nicholas Evans, the author who created him, Tom grew up in England, became infatuated with the American West, worked in Hollywood and ultimately chose writing as his profession. But unlike Evans, who established a following with his blockbuster hit The Horse Whisperer and lives with his wife, our protagonist has only a moderately satisfying writing career and dwells in an empty house he built with his ex-wife, whom he still loves. Tom, it is clear from the start, is stuck in a number of ways. He is estranged from his son, Danny, who is fighting in Iraq and on the brink of a life-changing tragedy. And a secret from Tom’s past—the truth of what happened to his beautiful actress mother—has shaped his life. Concealing that secret has required an astonishing number of lies.
When Tom becomes infatuated with a young writer, he imagines sharing the truth about his past with her. But he can’t, believing that it would be too great a betrayal to those who mean the most to him. He reflects, “That was the thing with lies. Like the gnarled and twisted pines that grew along the Front Range, the longer they lived the stronger they became.”
The Brave is an engrossing tale that deals mainly with clearing out these lies and examining the past that produced them, suggesting that, as Faulkner said, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Fans of The Horse Whisperer won’t want to miss this complex and satisfying story. For readers who have not had the pleasure of reading Evans, but are looking to get lost in a big novel with larger-than-life characters, The Brave is sure to fit the bill.