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House of the Rising Sun

James Lee Burke, read by Will Patton. S&S Audio, , unabridged, 12 CDs, 14.5 hrs., $39.99 ISBN 978-1-4423-8570-2

Actor Patton uses a mellifluous Southwestern accent to add aural gravitas to Burke’s WWI-era-set novel, with its trademark mix of nature’s beauty and man’s brutality. Alcoholic, mule-stubborn, prone-to-violence former Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland is on a mission to save his soul by finding and mending his broken relations with his son, Ishmael, an Army captain suffering from near-fatal war wounds. During the two-year quest, Hack has many adventures involving a trio of remarkable women—union activist Ruby Dansen, who’s Ishmael’s mother; Beatrice DeMolay, a brothel owner who comes to his aid in Mexico; and Maggie Bassett-Holland, Hack’s cold and conniving estranged wife. Along the way, he comes to possess a chalice that Austrian arms dealer Arnold Beckman believes to be the Holy Grail. This is a sprawling, bold historical adventure, beautifully written by Burke, with lyrical and dramatic passages brought to full effect by Patton’s atmospheric rendering and strikingly gripping enactment. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 01/22/2016 | Details & Permalink

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