Fallen land

Taylor Brown, 1982-

Book - 2016

"Set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and t...heir remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman's March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives"--

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Subjects
Genres
Historical fiction
Love stories
Published
New York : St. Martin's Press 2016.
Edition
First edition
Language
English
Physical Description
276 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9781250077974
1250077974
Main Author
Taylor Brown, 1982- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Picture cindered trees wrapped with twisted railroad rails—Sherman's "neckties"—burned-out remnantsof cities and farms, blackened ground for miles, and the empty stares of "stone-faced women and girls." During the American Civil War, Union troops torched Georgia, from Atlanta to Savannah, to undermine the South's ability and will to continue fighting. This bleak, harrowing account of a young couple's journey in General Sherman's wake describes the "fallen land" with wrenching detail, in language both lyrical and heartbreaking. Callum, an orphan conscripted by a roving band of self-styled Yankee-killers, and Ava, a homeowner unluckily in their path, bond together in flight, yearning toward safety and a fresh beginning. Picaresque in style—tracing the couple's wanderings from danger to devastation—with photographic precision and a stunning descriptive style reminiscent of a mournful ballad, this historical novel bleeds sorrow and regret. And the reader cannot look away or forget. Brown uses lovely language to describe the horrific, and dramatizes humanity's best and worst in wartime. Much like Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain (1997)in style, subject, and mood, but also as evocative of the nineteenth-century American landscape as Karen Fisher's A Sudden Country (2005), this is a masterpiece that deserves a full serving of accolades. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Montana Prize winner Brown has published short fiction in venues like the Baltimore Review but makes the leap to full-blown novelist with a work set in Georgia in the final years of the Civil War. Callum, a horse thief who emigrated from Ireland, decides to rescue Ava, who's lost her family to war and huddles in her house as soldiers scavenge nearby, and together they gallop away on a remarkable horse named Reiver. In-house enthusiasm. [Page 55]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

The opening chapter of Brown's debut novel, also a story in his award-winning collection, In the Season of Blood and Gold, is a violent introduction to the lawless days at the close of the Civil War. Young Callum is part of a roving band of Confederates led by the Colonel, now stripped of his commission for stealing. Under the Colonel's misguided control, they wander the Southern countryside, raiding and killing. At one farmhouse, Callum finds a lone girl named Ava and tries to save her from the brutish Colonel. During the melee that follows, Callum is wounded and carried off unconscious. When he wakes up, he steals the Colonel's black stallion and rides back to rescue Ava. They outfit the horse and ride southward, always on the lookout for bands of foragers but hoping to reach the rumored safety of Atlanta and the plantation of Callum's distant cousins. Ava and Callum's frantic journey toward a new life is full of danger from the oncoming winter, Ava's pregnancy, and the enraged raiders out for revenge. VERDICT Brown's expressive language captures the harsh realities of the South at the time. A nail-biting journey from first page to last. [See Prepub Alert, 7/8/15.]—Donna Bettencourt, Mesa Cty. P.L., Palisade, CO [Page 73]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

In this evocative Civil War novel, 17-year-old Callum is riding with a Gray Ghost–like Confederate colonel and his band of partisan rangers when they happen across a pregnant girl, Ava, who is Callum's age. After saving her from being raped, Callum is forced to go on the run with the girl, fleeing bounty hunters who mistakenly think that he was responsible for the Colonel (as he is known) being killed. The $5,000 bounty on Callum was posted by the Colonel himself in the event of his death, and everyone in his outfit is looking for a payday. Unable to shake the bounty hunters, Callum and Ava think that their best bet is Union-occupied Atlanta. Finding the city burned and with the bounty hunters hot on their trail, Callum and Ava make a desperate last ride east to reach the coast. Along the way, they come across victims of Sherman's scorched-earth policy, as well as those who take advantage of the chaos caused by war. This is a Civil War odyssey in the tradition of Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain and Daniel Woodrell's Woe to Live On, written in a vernacular that resurrects the era and fully brings alive Callum and Ava's adventures on the road. At the center of the story is the couple's growing love for each other, which powers the story to a suspenseful ending and a satisfying epilogue. (Jan.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A couple races through the destroyed South, relying on the kindness of strangers and foraging from abandoned farms, as they flee a slave hunter, tracking dogs and ex-partisan rangers during the final year of the Civil War.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Young couple Ava and Callum race through the destroyed South, relying on the kindness of strangers and foraging from abandoned farms, as they flee a slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ex-partisan rangers during the final year of the Civil War.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

"Set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman's March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives"--

Review by Publisher Summary 4

An Indie Next pick, an Okra 2016 Winter Selection, and a SIBA Bestseller!Fallen Land is Taylor Brown's debut novel set in the final year of the Civil War, as a young couple on horseback flees a dangerous band of marauders who seek a bounty reward. Callum, a seasoned horse thief at fifteen years old, came to America from his native Ireland as an orphan. Ava, her father and brother lost to the war, hides in her crumbling home until Callum determines to rescue her from the bands of hungry soldiers pillaging the land, leaving destruction in their wake. Ava and Callum have only each other in the world and their remarkable horse, Reiver, who carries them through the destruction that is the South. Pursued relentlessly by a murderous slave hunter, tracking dogs, and ruthless ex-partisan rangers, the couple race through a beautiful but ruined land, surviving on food they glean from abandoned farms and the occasional kindness of strangers. In the end, as they intersect with the scorching destruction of Sherman's March, the couple seek a safe haven where they can make a home and begin to rebuild their lives. Dramatic and thrillingly written with an uncanny eye for glimpses of beauty in a ravaged landscape, Fallen Land is a love story at its core, and an unusually assured first novel by award-winning young author Taylor Brown.