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.
The Braveby Nicholas Evans
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… See more details below
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.
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.
- Little, Brown Young Readers
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Meet the Author
Nicholas Evans has been a journalist, screenwriter, TV/film producer, and novelist. He studied at
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