The Brave

( 76 )

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 ...
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The Brave: A Novel

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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.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594492221
  • Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
  • Publication date: 10/12/2010
  • Pages: 353
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.50 (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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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 76 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(18)

3 Star

(12)

2 Star

(9)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 76 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 10, 2011

    Keeps a person guessing!

    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!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Living in a Fantasy world while growing up might be the best thing for Tommy!

    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.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2012

    Booklover

    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.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Not very good

    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.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2010

    This is a great Nicholas Evans book - a must read

    This Nicholas Evans book is one of his best. I so enjoyed the references to the old western TV series and the Hollywood stars. I liked the way he switched from Tom as a young boy to Tom now. Didn't want to put it down.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2010

    Don't waste your time

    This might be the worst book I've ever read. Alcoholic parents, teenage daughter gets pregnant,parents fake it as their child, daughter becomes movie star, her son/brother can't get over cowboys and wets the bed.The son get's married then divorces, ignores his son, his son joins marines,son accused of murder in Iraq, mother (movie star dies). Bed wetter tries to reconcile with his son. And I've missed some other events. The whole story goes no where, just one mess after another. Just watch Brothers and Sisters on TV.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    Read this author!!!!!

    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.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 20, 2011

    Not up to Evan's bet

    This book was a disappointment. The story didn't hold my interest. Characters weren't sympathetic or believable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Failed to grab my interest, finished it anyhow... silly me.

    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.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    The Brave

    I read it in one sitting. Will now read more of his books.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2013

    Warriors Den

    This is where Warriors sleep or do whatever.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2013

    Anonymous cat URGENT ABOUT LEADER

    Thunderstar is locked out and is moving the clan to bravest.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Bramblepaw

    MAIN CAMP IS RESULT TWO!!!!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Deerfang and Redkit

    Chirpkit and Horsekit need new rpers. Their old rpers aeent on anymore.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    Nightbird

    I just had my kits at result 4!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Shinepelt

    Dragged her self in and looked around. She meowed a greeting to Thunderstar and hauled herself toward the elders den. Sp

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013

    Nice

    Love it

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2010

    AN INTERESTING TAKE ON LIFE, SECRETS AND RELATIONSHIP!

    THE BRAVE by Nicholas Evans is an contemporary fiction set in 1950's and modern day Montana,England, and Iraq. It is well written. It does go back and forth between the past and present. It has struggles, family secrets, mistakes in the past,courage, reconcilation, death penalty,divorce, soldiers, the past haunting, a fight to save a life and true bravery.The characters are real, the plot interesting, and the overall story is brillantly excuted. If you enjoy will life characters, their struggles, courage and love you will enjoy this one. Although, this story moves backwards and forwards with events, it is easy to follow the plot and storyline. This book was received for the purpose of review from the publisher and details can be found at Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. and My Book Addiction and More.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2010

    Highly recommend this Book. I loved it.

    If You loved Horse Whisper, You will love this book. I need to find more books by this author. I would recommend this book for a book club discussion. I have recommend this book to friends and family. Just loved it. Also check out the sound track for this book written by Nicholas Evans wife. I do hope they do a movie of this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A beautifully written and narrated story.

    This book was beautiful. Which sounds like a weird way to describe a book, especially one with a few murders in the plot... But beautiful is such a great word for it.

    The characters were all great. I loved Tommy and Diane. Cal was another great character. The story follows Tommy through his life growing up in England, moving to Hollywood, and eventually "settling down" in Montana. The whole way through I was so captivated by what he was going through. The opening scene with Tommy and his mother is so captivating that I couldn't help but care what happens to Tommy through the rest of the story.

    The writing was beautiful in this story. Since it was an audiobook that I read I can imagine some of the imagery was as much from the writing as it was from the narrator's voice. But either way I could see everything that was going on. The descriptions weren't long and drawn out, but everything I saw in my head was on a large scale. I didn't just see where the action was happening, if they were in a room I saw the whole room, if they were outside I could see the whole scaling landscape around the area. I think the writing and the narration were such a perfect fit for each other that this book really was able to take on a life of it's own for me.

    The story itself was great also. The story jumps around in Tommy's life. Each part of the story answers one question and then raises another. Even when the story jumps forward it somehow is able to answer the questions from the past... The story wasn't always fast-paced, but it wasn't boring either. Everything about this story just hit that perfect balance.

    The narrator for this one was amazing. I don't like to see who narrates before I start and audiobook because then as I'm listening to the book all the characters take on the narrator (especially if it is someone famous). While I was listening I kept thinking to myself this voice is so familiar, and when I finished and looked to see who it was I realized why I liked the narration so much. Michael Emerson has such a great voice. I loved Lost, and even though I didn't so much like Ben I do like the guy who plays Ben. He was able to give each of the characters their own voice, without making them sound fake or "put on". I loved the narration as much as I loved the story.

    A review copy of this title was provided by Hachette Book Group.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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