In Dead Man's Walk, Gus and Call are not yet 20, young men coming of age in the days when Texas was still an independent republic. Enlisting as Texas Rangers under a land pirate who wants to seize Santa Fe from the Mexicans, Gus and Call experience their first great adventure in the barren great plains landscape, in which arbitrary violence is the rule -- whether from nature, or from the Indians whose territory they must cross in order to reach New Mexico.
From the Indians defending their land with unrelenting savagery, to the Texans attempting to seize and "civilize" it, and the Mexicans threatened by both, the reckless men of the untamed frontier make this at once a riveting adventure story and a powerful work of literature.
©2000 Larry McMurtry; (P)2000 Simon & Schuster
This is a prequel to Lonesome Dove with a young Corporal Call and Augustus. It is well written and superbly narrated. I could listen to Will Patten recite the phone book and enjoy it. It is also a good book but I could not give it five stars because it is so depressing. You are supposed to win some, lose some in life but you should not lose them all. If you do not mind a depressing story and you like oaters then this is for you.
Like many others, I listened to "Lonesome Dove" and loved it and wanted more of the story. This prequel, while entertaining, is a bit disappointing. Gus is one dimensional interested only in whores and it's hard to see how he would develop into the accomplished Texas Ranger we meet in "Lonesome Dove".
There is a lot of emphasis on torture and unpleasant death but I didn't find that to be as bad as some other reviewers do, though and lot of bad things and not much positive happens to the heroes in this one.
Near the end of the book, Mcmurtry changes style and suddenly we get Buffalo Hump and other Comanches in the first person where it had been third person throughout, which just struck me as odd.
I have to agree with one of the other reviewers on the ending. The ending is ludicrous and stretches the readers credulity beyond the breaking point.
Still, I did generally enjoy the story and it's worth it in any case as the first chronologically in the series.
Loved it! Will Patton is an awesome narrator and the voices of Gus and Woodrow are so much like Bobby Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in the movie Lonesome Dove that you can just see them (albeit younger) as you are listening. Just started Commanche Moon and the narration is a huge disappointment.
Lonesome Dove was one of the best audiobooks ever and Comanche Moon is not far behind. Unfortunately the best reason for listening to Dead Man's Walk is that it is the first book in this trilogy and sets the stage- even if done poorly. Unlike the second two books, there is little character development. Gus, the most intriguing character in Lonesome Dove, is a one-dimensional character interested only in sex and alcohol. Likewise for the Comanches and Apaches, portrayed as only interested in torture and killing- with drawn-out descriptions of both
Let me start by saying that I was let down by Will Patton's performance. Having listened to many of his performances of James Lee Burke's novels, I was looking forward to another stunning narration. Instead, it was just average, probably because the lighter atmosphere of cowboys and whores--even in the company of murderous Comanches--is a departure from the usual dark and brooding material that Burke produces...which seems to fit Patton's voice and intonation much better.
The story wasn't able to make up for the lackluster performance, however. This book is no Lonesome Dove. The humor, characterization, and epic story just aren't there.
Another familiar McMurtry saga.....Gus and Woodrow go on an expedition, there's a famous bad Indian that they try to kill, lots of whores,.......you know the drill.
If you enjoy stories of people being tortured this is a book for you. I had to force myself to finish this book; traditionally I love wild western stories.
Lonesome Dove was so good that I immediately wanted to start the series from the chronological beginning. I was sad to see that there was a different narrator for each book in the series, but I figured that if they were all by the same author, they would all be as good. Now I am not sure I want to finish the series. The narration was totally enjoyable (not quite as good as the reader for Lonesome Dove), but the story was weak. I understand that the two main characters that are so easy to enjoy Lonesome Dove are supposed to be very young men and maybe not quite as nuanced in this book, but they just weren't very interesting here. The humor of Lonesome Dove is absent. Also, Dead Man's Walk is very short (14 hours, I think, compared to the 30 or 40 of Lonesome Dove), which I suppose was merciful.
lost in words
The story had was interesting but the ending felt like walking off a cliff.
narration was very good
I think the ending left you so high and dry it begs for a follow-up book
I have not read all the Lonesome Dove series and it would probably be helpful to do so to understand the whole complexity of this saga. I love the western open lands and love the visions created by the author. All in all it's a good story.
I loved the reader! I'm unsure why others complained, because I feel Will Patton did a wonderful job of expressing a natural-sounding Texan accent. The story was great, too.
FOr me, the most memorable aspect was the view that the white soldiers and settlers were unable to properly defend themselves. Unlike most westerns which convey Mexicans and Native Americans as ignorant, evil animals (more of less), this book showed their prowess as hunters, skilled fighters, and strategic thinkers. In the end, the indians didn't lose.
Karl got my most sympathy and attention. He was clearly street smart more than book smart, which was good for his training as a Texas Ranger.
Will's portrayal of Caleb made me hate the character - as intended. He was evil, so the narrator made him sound obnoxious and just nasty. I was glad when he was shot down.
If you're looking for the typical western story where the good guys are sure to win in the end, you should find another book. But if you want a cool, colorful western story with many interesting characters and compelling events, then I recommend you download this book. I would gladly read it over again.The only reason I took a star off this review is because the story takes a weird turn at the end that is unrealistic and lame. A woman sings opera to scare the Indians off. This book was building towards a fight between Karl and Buffalo Hump, so it's stupid to end that scene in such a silly way. It could have been enough to have the prophetic white mule appear to send Buff running.
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