The Brave

The Brave

3.9 77
by Nicholas Evans
     
 

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There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy

Overview

There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever.

What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. Only when his estranged son, a US Marine, is charged with murder do the events resurface, forcing him to confront his demons. As he struggles to save his son's life, he will learn the true meaning of bravery.

Powerfully written and intensely moving, The Brave traces the legacy of violence behind the myth of the American West and explores our quest for love and identity, the fallibility of heroes and the devastating effects of family secrets.

Editorial Reviews

Tommy Bedford was just eight years old when he learned that his "older sister" was actually his mother. That shock was soon supplanted by glee when his youthful, glamorous mom became the amour of the TV cowboy most idolized. One sudden thrust of tragedy ended that idyllic moment, sending mother and son into frantic escape. Fast forward forty years later: Tommy has become Tom, a writer and documentary filmmaker, divorced and estranged from his only son. When that soldier son is arrested and charged in a military court for committing an atrocity in Iraq, Bedford must finally confront not only his own son, but his own hidden past.

Carol Haggas
Ever the master of intense and complex relationships, Evans has crafted a time-traveling plot that admirably juggles issues of identity and fidelity to one's self and one's principles.
Booklist
Dan Forrest
In his first novel in five years Evans displays a sure hand at drawing characters and their motivations and settings as diverse as a gloomy boarding school, glamorous Hollywood, and the wide-open spaces of the West. This should appeal to all lovers of good storytelling.
Library Journal
Kelly Blewett
The Brave is an engrossing tale that ... suggest[s] that, as Faulkner said, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." Fans of The Horse Whisperer won't want to miss this complex and satisfying story. For readers who have not had the pleasure of reading Evans, but are looking to get lost in a big novel with larger-than-life characters, The Brave is sure to fit the bill.
BookPage
Booklist
"Ever the master of intense and complex relationships, Evans has crafted a time-traveling plot that admirably juggles issues of identity and fidelity to one's self and one's principles."
BookPage
"The Brave is an engrossing tale that ... suggest[s] that, as Faulkner said, "The past isn't dead. It isn't even past." Fans of The Horse Whisperer won't want to miss this complex and satisfying story. For readers who have not had the pleasure of reading Evans, but are looking to get lost in a big novel with larger-than-life characters, The Brave is sure to fit the bill."
Kirkus Reviews

The latest from Evans (The Divided, 2005, etc.), author of the blockbuster The Horse Whisperer (1995), ranges from a 1950s British boarding school to early-'60s Hollywood gossip to contemporary war crimes in Iraq.

As 1960 approaches at Ashlawn Preparatory, lonely Tommy Bedford, not yet ten,is a mostlyinconspicuous boy teased for being a bedwetter. He feels exiled from home and especially from his beautiful, vivacious sister, a starlet who's just movedto Los Angeles to seek fame in film; hischief solace is an obsession with bold cowboy heroes,among thema small-screen gunslinger named Red McGraw. Tommy's sister shows up on the redbrick campus in a stretch limo one day, squiredby Ray Montane, theactor who plays Red. Soon after,Diane divulges a shocking secret—Tommy is not her brother but her son, conceived when she was a teen, and hisaged parents are really grandparents—and she and Ray whiskTommy to Hollywood to live with them. Inevitably, the sunny fantasy curdles, and Ray turns out not to be quite thesquare-jawed scourge ofinjustice he plays on television. Eventually, his poisonous jealousy results in an actof violence that, we learn in the book's opening scene, ends(not quite plausibly) withDiane being executed.Four decades later,ex-alcoholic Tom Bedford lives alone in Montana, soldiering on amid the wreckage of a marriage and a once-promising writing career.But when his estranged son, Danny,who enlisted in theMarines over Tom's objections, is charged with murder after a civilian massacre in Iraq, Tom—trying both to reconnect to his boy and to save him from conviction—is forced toacknowledge, and todo something aboutthe toxic residue of, the secrethe'd thought buried.Evans has put together a slick,well-constructed entertainment, but it often succumbs to cliché and grimly dogpaddlesin the mainstream, never taking a risk.

The novel is brisk-paced and crowd-pleasing, but hardly brave.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316056441
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
10/12/2010
Pages:
353
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Nicholas Evans has been a journalist, screenwriter, TV/film producer, and novelist. He studied at Oxford University after serving in Africa with the Voluntary Service Overseas. He then studied journalism and worked as a newspaper reporter and television screenwriter before writing four bestselling books of fiction. His novel, The Horse Whisperer was made into a celebrated movie directed by Robert Redford. He lives in Devon with his wife, singer/songwriter Charlotte Gordon Cumming.

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The Brave: A Novel 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 73 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up and could not put it down, I will not say that every part was amazing, but the mystery to it made me just want to keep on reading. I think it was very well written, interesting, and (as said before keeps a person interested). He does a great job describing the scenery that you get a clear mental picture of what the place and people look like. I completely recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a pile of refuse. There have been few books over the years where I have struggled to finish, this one tops my list. Simply no direction, no destination and absolutely a bore. This is my only review I have given and the only reason I do so is compassion for my fellow readers, to save them a few wasted hours out of their life.
HarleyCS More than 1 year ago
Nicholas Evans is one of my all-time foavorite authors, having said that his book The Brave was sadly not very good. It felt juvenile, contrived and just sort of patched together. I would recommend all of his other books but not this one.
Luv2knit19 More than 1 year ago
This book was a disappointment. The story didn't hold my interest. Characters weren't sympathetic or believable.
Airynd More than 1 year ago
You know the Old Spice Guy commercial, "Look at your man. Now back at me. Now back at your man. Now back at me?" This book is somewhat like that: "Look at the present. Now back to the 50's. Now back to the present. Now back to the 70's. Now back to the present." The first half of the book gave me chronological whiplash. After having heard N. Evans' interview on the Diane Rehm Show on NPR, I was pretty stoked to read this book. I love the old wild West fantasies, I love horses and life on the range... and from the interview, it sounded like there would be more time spent on the friendship between Tommy and the "half-breed" who so changed his life. Instead, we are dragged around at length through a torturous experience at boarding school and forced to put up with characters who largely conjure little sympathy at all. There were certainly passages I enjoyed in this book, but it was, by and large, a waste of two days' reading.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
It's 1959, and Tommy Bedford lives his life in a fantasy state of mind. He has grown up with the old west heroes of Flint McClintock, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and of course the Lone Ranger. He sees these men as the true heroes to be emulated in his own life. However Tommy is faced with one horrible problem that no amount of fantasizing can help, it's bed wetting. His poor parents have tried everything in hopes of determining what is the underlying cause behind it but when all else fails, Tommy is sent off to boarding school in hopes that this will make him grow up. However what Tommy does learn from boarding school is that what goes on behind the walls of the school is kept secret. The brutal horrors of being threatened and bullied by those upper classmen teach Tommy that some things are never meant to be spoken of again. In the book, The Brave by Nicholas Evans, we are taken back into the past when Tommy is struggling to find his own identity in a world of what the world wants as we see Tommy's childhood years and his sister Diane who has moved away to find her career in Hollywood as the newest up and coming starlet. She only wants to help Tommy in a way their parents can't. She meets Tommy's TV western hero, Ray Fontaine and believes he could be the answer to her prayers. The book also takes you back and forth in Tommy's life and can occasionally take the reader awhile to understand which time period you are in with regard to Tommy. However the book does take some unexpected twists and turns and you understand that both Tommy and Diane each have secret lives that will soon be on display for the whole world to see and you understand just how tragic their lives are. I received this book, compliments of Hachette Book Group for my honest review and must say this one is really great. It's a first for me reading Nicholas Evan's book but I did see The Horse Whisperer and have to say he is a great storyteller. I would rate this book a 5 out of 5 stars.
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I read it in one sitting. Will now read more of his books.
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Love it
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I haven't read this one, but just finished "The Loop," also by this author, and can't stop thinking about it. It was more of an experience than a "read." "The Smoke Jumper" is also great, a real page-turner.
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