Sin Killer: A Novel (Berrybender Narratives)

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9780743246842: Sin Killer: A Novel (Berrybender Narratives)
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From Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry comes the first in a four-volume epic journey through the early American frontier, featuring the Berrybender family, English nobility adrift in the American West in the 1830s.

It is 1830, and the Berrybender family—rich, aristocratic, English, and hopelessly out of place—is on its way up the Missouri River to see the untamed West as it begins to open up. With irascible determination—and a great deal of outright chaos—the party experiences both the awesome majesty and brutal savagery of the unexplored land, from buffalo stampedes and natural disasters to Indian raids and encounters with frontiersmen and trappers, explorers, pioneers, and one part-time preacher known as "the Sin Killer." Packed with breathtaking adventure, charming romance, and a sense of humor stretching clear over the horizon, Sin Killer is a truly unique view of the West that could only come from the boundless skill and imagination of Larry McMurtry.

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Larry McMurtry's Sin Killer is a wildly entertaining ride through the untamed Great Plains. The first installment of a proposed tetralogy, The Berrybender Narratives, Sin Killer follows the adventures of the Berrybenders, a large, noble English family traveling the Missouri River in 1832. This deeply self-absorbed and spoiled family leaves England for the unknown of the American West, based solely on a "whim" and Lord Berrybender's desire to "shoot different animals from those he shot at home." The novel joins the family as they make their way toward Yellowstone aboard a luxury steamer, accompanied by a motley assemblage of servants, guides, and natives. Along the way, this "floating Europe" and its bickering, stubborn passengers encounter constant adversity, including warring natives, hellacious weather, accidental deaths, and kidnappings.

Thanks largely to Sin Killer's gallery of colorful personalities, McMurtry keeps most of the action firmly in the realm of fish-out-of-water farce. One such character is the independent and opinionated eldest daughter Tasmin, who, frustrated by her family's conventions, escapes the steamer, whereupon she meets and falls in love with Jim Snow, a.k.a. Sin Killer. Snow, an Indian killer raised by natives, is a stoical, God-fearing man who won't tolerate blasphemy. With prose that flows as naturally as the Missouri, McMurtry weaves together a large cast and vast setting into a thoroughly exciting, hilarious adventure novel. Though Sin Killer focuses on a love story and contains plenty of realistic violence, McMurtry's efficient voice and matter-of-fact perspective leaves little room for tragedy or sentimentality, instead emphasizing high comedy. This is wonderful storytelling from a narrator in perfect agreement with his subject. Sin Killer should please McMurtry's many fans, who now have much to look forward to. --Ross Doll

About the Author:

Larry McMurtry is the author of twenty-nine novels, including the Pulitzer Prize–winning Lonesome Dove, three memoirs, two collections of essays, and more than thirty screenplays. He lives in Archer City, Texas.

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9780743233026: Sin Killer (The Berrybender Narratives)

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ISBN 10:  0743233026 ISBN 13:  9780743233026
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2002
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9780743451413: Sin Killer: The Berrybender Narrative, Book 1 (The Berrybender Narratives)

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