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“A wild ride through Cuba during the Spanish-American War.”
“Not only his finest novel but one that transcends the limits of its genre and is worthy of being evaluated as literary fiction.”
Before Grand Master Elmore Leonard earned his well-deserved reputation as “the best writer of crime fiction alive” (Newsweek), he penned some of the finest western fiction to ever appear in print. (The classics Hombre, Valdez is Coming, and 3:10 to Yuma were just a few of his notable works.) With his extraordinary Cuba Libre, Leonard ingeniously combines all of his many talents and delivers a historical adventure/caper/western/noir like none other. The creator of U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens, star of Raylan, Pronto, Riding the Rap, and TV’s Justified, spins a gloriously exciting yarn about an American horse wrangler who escapes a date with a Cuban firing squad to join forces with a powerful sugar baron’s lady looking to make waves and score big in and around Spanish-American War-torn Havana in 1898. Everything you love about Leonard’s fiction—and more—is evident in Cuba Libre. No wonder the New York Times Book Review enthusiastically declared him “a literary genius.”
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Cuba Libre finds Leonard reaching for a broader audience than those which appreciated either his crime novels or the westerns he once wrote, which he accomplishes by combining elements of both. Ben Tyler is a cowboy who robs banks, but only those that contain money of people who owe but won't pay him--he only takes what they owe. Charlie Burke is a businessman who buys horses cheap in the west, then sells them to exporters, while heroine Amelia Brown is the mistress of one of the truly bad men in the novel and struggles with dilemmas similar to those endured by other cast members.
Begining around the time that the Maine is sunk in Havana Harbor and ending when Teddy and others storm San Juan Hill, the story is at its best when its colorful characters are turned loose in one of the novel's colorful settings. If you like Leonard, you'll love Cuba Libre, and if--for some reason--you haven't yet discovered the author, prepare for a real treat.
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