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ProductsMore About Wayfaring Stranger by James Lee BurkeOverviewIn his most ambitious work yet, New York Times bestseller James Lee Burke tells a classic American story through one man's unforgettable life--connecting a fateful encounter with Bonnie and Clyde to heroic acts at the Battle of the Bulge and finally to the high-stakes gambles and cutthroat players who ushered in the dawn of the American oil industry.
In 1934, sixteen-year-old Weldon Avery Holland happens upon infamous criminals Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow after one of their notorious armed robberies. A confrontation with the outlaws ends with Weldon firing a gun and being unsure whether it hit its mark.
Ten years later, Second Lieutenant Weldon Holland barely survives the Battle of the Bulge, in the process saving the lives of his sergeant, Hershel Pine, and a young Spanish prisoner of war, Rosita Lowenstein--a woman who holds the same romantic power over him as the strawberry blonde Bonnie Parker, and is equally mysterious. The three return to Texas where Weldon and Hershel get in on the ground floor of the nascent oil business.
In just a few years' time Weldon will spar with the jackals of the industry, rub shoulders with dangerous men, and win and lose fortunes twice over. But it is the prospect of losing his one true love that will spur his most reckless, courageous act yet--one that takes its inspiration from that encounter long ago with the outlaws of his youth.
A tender love story and pulse-pounding thriller that crosses continents and decades of American history, Wayfaring Stranger "is a sprawling historical epic full of courage and loyalty and optimism and good-heartedness that reads like an ode to the American Dream" (Benjamin Percy, Poets & Writers).
Publishers Weekly Reviews
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-05-19
- Reviewer: Staff
Early in this epic American saga from MWA Grand Master Burke, Weldon Holland, the grandson of lawman and series character Hackberry Holland, has a chance run-in with Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow in Texas, shortly before the notorious bank robbers are gunned down in Louisiana. Weldon has another, more significant coming-of-age experience toward the end of WWII. As an Army second lieutenant, he rescues Sgt. Hershel Pine when both are trapped behind German lines. Weldon later saves Rosita Lowenstein, a concentration camp prisoner, who fought against Franco in the Spanish Civil War. After the war ends in Europe, Weldon marries Rosita. Back in Texas, Weldon and Hershel build an innovative oil pipeline business, but their success creates an enemy, oil tycoon Lloyd Fincher, who as a U.S. Army major was known as “a dangerous idiot.” Lloyd attacks the entrepreneurs through their wives, most notably Rosita, smeared mercilessly for her leftist past. Weldon occupies the high moral ground, but he’s not above meting out his own brand of justice. His quest to save his wife generates some suspense, but this is more morality tale than thriller, the story of one man’s struggle to live with integrity in postwar America. Burke, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series (Light of the World, etc.), writes with great assurance and wisdom, as well as a kind of bitter nostalgia for lost innocence. Agent: Philip Spitzer, Philip G. Spitzer Literary Agency. (July)