We Burn Daylight: A Novel

We Burn Daylight: A Novel

by Bret Anthony Johnston

Narrated by Christian Baskous, Xe Sands, Full Cast


We Burn Daylight: A Novel

We Burn Daylight: A Novel

by Bret Anthony Johnston

Narrated by Christian Baskous, Xe Sands, Full Cast


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An epic novel of star-crossed lovers set in a doomsday cult on the Texas prairie that asks: What would you sacrifice for the person you love?

“Symphonic and suspenseful . . . In an epic act of empathy, Bret Anthony Johnston inhabits every point of view, from doomed devotees to perplexed law enforcement.”-Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March

Waco, Texas, 1993. People from all walks of life have arrived to follow the Lamb's gospel-signing over savings and pensions, selling their homes and shedding marriages. They've come here to worship at the feet of a former landscaper turned prophet who is preparing for the End Times with a staggering cache of weapons. Jaye's mother is one of his newest and most devout followers, though Jaye herself has suspicions about the Lamb's methods-and his motives.

Roy is the youngest son of the local sheriff, a fourteen-year-old boy with a heart of gold and a nose for trouble who falls for Jaye without knowing of her mother's attachment to the man who is currently making his father's life hell. The two teenagers are drawn to each other immediately and completely, but their love may have dire consequences for their families. The Lamb has plans for them all-especially Jaye-and as his preaching and scheming move them closer and closer to unthinkable violence, Roy risks everything to save Jaye.

Based on the true events that unfolded thirty years ago during the siege of the Branch Davidian compound, Bret Anthony Johnston's We Burn Daylight is an unforgettable love story, a heart-pounding literary page turner, and a profound exploration of faith, family, and what it means to truly be saved.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly


A Texas teen tries to rescue his crush from a Branch Davidians–like cult in Johnston’s gripping sophomore novel (after Remember Me Like This). In 1993 Waco, rebellious 14-year-old Roy, son of the local sheriff, meets California girl Jaye Carroll and falls hard. Jaye’s mother, Marie, brought her there after meeting Perry “Lamb” Cullen at a gun expo and agreeing to join his flock of disciples in Texas. Jaye, who’s now living with Marie on Lamb’s compound, is skeptical of his doomsday prophesies and unnerved by his stockpiling of weapons. When she tells Roy about the obsessive attention Lamb pays to her, Roy enlists his dad’s help to rescue her, setting the stage for a Shakespearean tragedy of star-crossed lovers. The propulsive plot, which builds to a violent raid on the compound following the sheriff’s discovery of Lamb’s arsenal, is juxtaposed with colorful excerpts from a present-day podcast called On the Lamb, featuring interviews with former cult members and their loved ones including Jaye’s father, who rails about the “pissant pedophile” who “cost me a family.” Amid the plethora of stories about cults, this stands out. (July)

From the Publisher

Symphonic and suspenseful, We Burn Daylight reimagines events at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco. In an epic act of empathy, Bret Anthony Johnston inhabits every point of view, from doomed devotees to perplexed law enforcement, and even manages to infuse the tragedy with moments of poignant, very human, humor.”—Geraldine Brooks, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of March

“I surrendered to this majestic novel—its masterly plot, its unbearably honest gaze upon very recent history, and its characters, as intricately and astonishingly human as can be—and flew through it in two days. It haunts me. A colossal achievement of We Burn Daylight is that it demands to be read in a breathless rush, and afterward, demands deepest and most private reflection.”—Megha Majumdar, New York Times bestselling author of A Burning

“With bravery and compassion, Bret Anthony Johnston takes on a watershed moment in American history, cutting through the myth and messiainism to reveal a story that is profoundly—and tragically—human.”—Cristina Henriquez, author of The Great Divide

“Fascinating characters and an engaging, authentic style give We Burn Daylight a fine shot at the Great American Novel sweepstakes. Few people can bring Texas to life on the page like Bret Anthony Johnston.”—Gary Shteyngart, New York Times bestselling author of Our Country Friends

“Yes, it is spellbinding. Yes, it is explosive. Yes, it is a must-read book. An ineffable work of fiction, We Burn Daylight is full of characters grappling with the ways loss and language and space and desire make it so hard to speak not to the loss but to each other. Simply put, Johnston’s novel is a triumph of a greatness so startlingly bright and attractive that, like our sun, you cannot help but stare at the very thing that sustains us but will also destroy us.”—Morgan Talty, bestselling author of Night of the Living Rez and Fire Exit: A Novel

Product Details

BN ID: 2940160305516
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Publication date: 07/30/2024
Edition description: Unabridged
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