Painted Horses -

Malcolm Brooks

Published by Blackstone Audio
ISBN 10: 1483013561 / ISBN 13: 9781483013565
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Synopsis: [Read by Julia Whelan]

In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild. In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.

Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana with a huge task before her - a canyon ''as deep as the devil's own appetites.'' Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove that nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood. From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar - the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth. And then there's John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the US Army's last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon. John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past.

Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman's vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows. It establishes Malcolm Brooks as an extraordinary new talent.

Review:

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, August 2014: It’s tempting to dismiss Malcolm Brooks’s debut as the latest in a series of American epics treading on Cormac McCarthy territory: The Son, Fourth of July Creek, and The Kept come to mind as recent novels dealing with the darker realities of frontiers, both geographical and personal. Like The Son, Painted Horses positions itself at the moment the frontier era gives way to modernity: in mid-century Montana, a dam project threatens to flood a canyon historically inhabited by Native Americans, submerging thousands of years of Crow history under hundreds of feet of slack water. When the inexperienced Catherine Lemay is appointed to survey the canyon for cultural evidence that could thwart the dam-builders, she assumes one corner of a Faustian triangle with a scheming hydroelectric shill and the mysterious John H., a rugged, reticent horse whisperer who opens the secrets of the country to the young archaeologist. Tangled relationships, difficult decisions, and hard compromises ensue. Decades and continents are spanned, and history unfolds. Maybe we’ve read this before?

But dismissing Painted Horses for its Western tropes would ignore just how good this book is. Brooks's prose is stylistically bold, announcing his artistic aspirations from the opening sentence. His characters are carefully drawn, yet their intentions remain ambiguous enough to be authentically human. His Montana is vivid, wild, and broad, and it’s obvious that Brooks lives where he writes, and loves where he lives. Ultimately, Brooks accomplishes no small feat in this remarkable debut: a tale of literary ambition that lives comfortably inside its genre roots, but not by its conventions.--Jon Foro

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Title: Painted Horses -
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Book Condition: BRAND NEW

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Malcolm Brooks
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ISBN 10: 1483013561 ISBN 13: 9781483013565
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