Dead Man's Walk

Dead Man's Walk

4.2 62
by Larry McMurtry
     
 

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Dead Man's Walk is the first, extraordinary book in the epic Lonesome Dove tetralogy, in which Larry McMurtry breathed new life into the vanished American West and created two of the most memorable heroes in contemporary fiction: Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

As young Texas Rangers, Gus and Call have much to learn about survival in a land…  See more details below

Overview

Dead Man's Walk is the first, extraordinary book in the epic Lonesome Dove tetralogy, in which Larry McMurtry breathed new life into the vanished American West and created two of the most memorable heroes in contemporary fiction: Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call.

As young Texas Rangers, Gus and Call have much to learn about survival in a land fraught with perils: not only the blazing heat and raging tornadoes, roiling rivers and merciless Indians but also the deadly whims of soldiers. On their first expeditions--led by incompetent officers and accompanied by the robust, dauntless whore known as the Great Western--they will face death at the hands of the cunning Comanche war chief Buffalo Hump and the silent Apache Gomez. They will be astonished by the Mexican army. And Gus will meet the love of his life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, the heroes of Lonesome Dove, return in a rousing if slightly contrived yarn set decades before the events of that Pulitzer Prize-winning novel-and earlier still than the latter-day adventures of Call, detailed in Streets of Laredo. Now hardly more than teenage runaways, the pair, just recruited into the ragtag Rangers of the new Texas Republic, come face-to-face with death on their baptismal patrol as Gus, foolishly wandering away from his guard post, stumbles onto the grotesquely disfigured Comanche chief Buffalo Hump and narrowly escapes with the Indian's lance embedded in his hip. Gus and Call return safely to San Antonio but, lured by myths of silver and gold, the hapless duo sign on to a small army led by a former seafaring pirate intent on liberating Santa Fe from Mexican rule. An unforgettable (and equally unlikely) crew of blackhearted villains, foppish officers and star-crossed heroes and heroines, the sorry little force heads west only to be terrorized by Buffalo Hump, then captured by Mexican militia. With the ruthless Captain Salazar calling the shots, Mexicans and Americans are ordered to march toward El Paso. Along the way, Call is whipped nearly to death for a minor offense, and the group is stalked by a murderous Apache. Forced by Salazar to cross the high desert known as ``dead man's walk,'' Gus, Call and company end up at a leper colony near El Paso, where they find salvation. Suffering from McMurtry's usual coincidences and miraculous escapes, as well as from some stereotypical key characters and too much obvious melodrama, this falls short of both Lonesome Dove and Streets of Laredo. Still, it's bracing entertainment in its own right, with McMurtry flashing his storytelling skills as he recreates the salad days of two flawed but all-American heroes adrift in the Old West. 500,000 first printing. (Sept.)
Library Journal
McMurtry's recent novels (The Late Child, LJ 5/15/95 and Pretty Boy Floyd, LJ 9/1/94) have been disappointing, but in this prequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Lonesome Dove (LJ 7/85), he shows himself to be in top form again. During the years of the Texas Republic, a group of Rangers travel across Texas on several misbegotten missions. Two of the youngest Rangers, Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, are featured in Lonesome Dove. Their coming of age can be charted by the rivers they crossthe Brazos, the Trinity, the Big Wichitaand the hardships they endure. Death is a constant companion, coming quickly at the hand of hostile Natives, fellow rangers, and nature itself. Their last expedition, to take Santa Fe from the Mexicans, ends disastrously with a heartstopping game of chance determining who will live and who will die. From opening line to last page, this marvelous novelpart soap opera, part slapstick, part tragedyis impossible to put down. Very highly recommended for all popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/95.]Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Mary Frances Wilkens
Fans of "Lonesome Dove" will flock to read McMurtry's latest novel, a prequel to that best-seller, which was made into a popular television miniseries. We meet Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae when they're novice Texas Rangers not yet 20 years old. They are part of a pack of Rangers bound for new frontiers in the Wild West. Traveling with the team is Mathilda, a heavyset whore who provides both comfort and wisdom. When the group gets word that the town of Santa Fe--full of gold and silver and prosperity--is primed to be captured, they head out for a long, dangerous, and ill-fated journey. They are terrorized along the way by the fearsome Comanche chief Buffalo Hump, who is known for viciously torturing those he captures. Their biggest challenge, though, is nature itself, as they must cross Jornada del Muerto, or Dead Man's Walk. Although foolish, filthy, and ornery, these men are endearing, with a simple but insightful worldview. McMurtry again paints a story full of dreariness and despair with colorful characters, bringing out the beauty rather than the bleakness of life.
John Milius
In DEAD MAN'S WALK, McMurtry uses a simple, wry, immensely accessible storyteller's voice to ponder the same questions that Melville and Conrad did. This is a great book…Larry McMurtry, at his best here, is one of the finest American novelists ever. We are lucky he's around.
Los Angeles Times
Michael Berry
DEAD MAN'S WALK succeeds marvelously…resurrecting two brilliantly conceived characters and delivering a rousing tale of the Wild West.
San Francisco Chronicle
From the Publisher
"In Dead Man's Walk, McMurtry uses a simple, wry, immensely accessible storyteller's voice to ponder the same questions that Melville and Conrad did. This is a great book. . . . Larry McMurtry, at his best here, is one of the finest American novelists, ever. We are lucky he's around."—John Milius, Los Angeles Times

"McMurtry remains a good storyteller, and he remains a master of dialogue, doing a sort of frontier version of Oscar Wilde."—Washington Post Book World

"Dead Man's Walk. . . succeeds marvelously . . . resurrecting two brilliantly conceived characters and delivering a rousing tale of the Wild West."—Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"Gee-haw! Larry McMurtry is back in the yarn-slinging business—with a vengeance. . . . Readers will gobble up Dead Man's Walk—a wild and wooly read—from cover to cover."—Denver Post

"Dead Man's Walk is a very good read . . . [It] will keep you reading [and] make you miss meals." —Seattle Times

"McMurtry does great characters. Call and McCrae are real, lifelike, believable, and lovable. . . . McMurtry's stories are brimming with passion and page-turning excitement. . . It's good, good stuff."—Kansas City Star

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451606553
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
06/01/2010
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
464
Sales rank:
32,193
File size:
3 MB

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"In Dead Man's Walk, McMurtry uses a simple, wry, immensely accessible storyteller's voice to ponder the same questions that Melville and Conrad did. This is a great book. . . . Larry McMurtry, at his best here, is one of the finest American novelists, ever. We are lucky he's around."—John Milius, Los Angeles Times

"McMurtry remains a good storyteller, and he remains a master of dialogue, doing a sort of frontier version of Oscar Wilde."—Washington Post Book World

"Dead Man's Walk. . . succeeds marvelously . . . resurrecting two brilliantly conceived characters and delivering a rousing tale of the Wild West."—Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle

"Gee-haw! Larry McMurtry is back in the yarn-slinging business—with a vengeance. . . . Readers will gobble up Dead Man's Walk—a wild and wooly read—from cover to cover."—Denver Post

"Dead Man's Walk is a very good read . . . [It] will keep you reading [and] make you miss meals." —Seattle Times

"McMurtry does great characters. Call and McCrae are real, lifelike, believable, and lovable. . . . McMurtry's stories are brimming with passion and page-turning excitement. . . It's good, good stuff."—Kansas City Star

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Meet 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.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Archer City, Texas
Date of Birth:
June 3, 1936
Place of Birth:
Wichita Falls, Texas
Education:
B.A., North Texas State University, 1958; M.A., Rice University, 1960. Also studied at Stanford University.

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