Greg Iles continues the electrifying story begun in his smash New York Times best seller Natchez Burning in this highly anticipated second installment of an epic trilogy of blood and race, family and justice, featuring Southern lawyer Penn Cage.
Former prosecutor Penn Cage and his fiancee, reporter and publisher Caitlin Masters, have barely escaped with their lives after being attacked by wealthy businessman Brody Royal and his Double Eagles, a KKK sect with ties to some of Mississippi's most powerful men. But the real danger has only begun as FBI Special Agent John Kaiser warns Penn that Brody isn't the true leader of the Double Eagles. The puppeteer who actually controls the terrorist group is a man far more fearsome: the chief of the state police's Criminal Investigations Bureau, Forrest Knox.
The only way Penn can save his father, Dr. Tom Cage - who is fleeing a murder charge as well as corrupt cops bent on killing him - is either to make a devil's bargain with Knox or destroy him. While Penn desperately pursues both options, Caitlin uncovers the real story behind a series of unsolved civil rights murders that may hold the key to the Double Eagles' downfall. The trail leads her deep into the past, into the black backwaters of the Mississippi River, to a secret killing ground used by slave owners and the Klan for more than 200 years...a place of terrifying evil known only as "the bone tree".
The Bone Tree is an explosive, action-packed thriller full of twisting intrigue and deadly secrets, a tale that explores the conflicts and casualties that result when the darkest truths of American history come to light. It puts us inside the skin of a noble man who has always fought for justice - now finally pushed beyond his limits.
Just how far will Penn Cage, the hero we thought we knew, go to protect those he loves?
©2015 Greg Iles (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers
Story seemed labored and pedantic at times. After such a loooong read, the ending was disappointing and too obvious set up for sequel. Though talented writer, Mr Iles has succumbed to the money go-round.
clwalker IT Admin
Greg Iles writes an excellent, attention holding story, but this series has become so depressing it makes me consider not reading any more of them. Tragedy abounds and the characters who should know better keep doing incredibly stupid, careless things which cause even more grief. The main character, Penn comes across as petulant and childish in this book when he has been imminently sensible and capable before. Considering the subject matter, I suppose the characters can't possibly win this one, but I found the book sad and frustrating, even though well written and the narration excellent. Not an experience I am anxious to repeat.
I was so disappointed with this story. "Surely, crap happens, but golly jee whiz, does any one in the story get a break! The death of who I believe is the heroine was so anti- climactic that could not believe that she was really dead. I demand a re-write. Let's back up and change the story from that point. It would feel so much better.
After listening to the first four Penn Cage books so brilliantly narrated by Dick Hill, I was beside myself with disappointment and grief that Natchez Burning was NOT narrated by the incomparable Mr. Hill. I protested in every way I could and truly hoped that Robert Petkoff would do a good job with The Bone Tree. But sadly, The residents of the deep south do not have southern accents in his voice and I find that very disturbing. I am going to return this audible version and buy the book in print. Then I can read it and imagine Dick Hill's voice and the mood and rhythm of the south that is totally lacking in Petkoff's narration.
Again, I feel abandoned as an audible consumer of this series. Very sad.
The idea of the story was great.
I've loved the other books in the series- but this one seemed like he was getting paid per page.
It did serve nicely to listen to on the airplane, though. If I fell asleep for an hour, I didn't miss much.
Although the plot is quite interesting, weaving racist violence in Mississippi with hypotheses about the Kennedy assassination (sometimes a bit improbable), the style is childish and repetitive. The characters are always feeling "chills on their spine" or "trembling knees" and shaking hands when faced with danger, which by the way is ALL the time. I'm disappointed in Iles, having read other good books by him.
Not in this genre but I'm turned off Iles.
Actually, the narrator does a very creditable job, with several voices, black and white, male and female.
There are many scenes that could disappear without affecting the novel, for example all the intimate soul searching scenes by the characters which turn out to be corny and lifeless. Some good surgery would actually improve it.
I think Iles bit off more than he could chew with this one.
List of favorite books: Woodcutter - Reginald Hill, Consent to Kill, First Deadly Sin - Lawrence Sanders, Sniper Elite - Scott McEwen
This is the beginning to chapter 1
"Tonight, death and time showed me their true faces. We spend our lives plotting blindly through the slaughterhouse gate between past and future. Every second is annihilation. The death of this moment, the birth of this moment. There is no next moment. There is only now. While the pace of life seems stately in the living, we funnel through that gate like driven cattle. Fearful, obedient, insensate. Even while we sleep, now becomes then, as relentless as a river wearing away a rock. Cells burn oxygen, repair proteins, die and replace themselves in a seemingly endless train.Yet from the womb, those internal clocks are winding down to a final disorder. Only in the shadow of death do we sense the true velocity of time. While adrenaline blasts through our systems, eternity becomes tangible, and all else blurs in the background. It is then, paradoxically, that seconds seem to stretch. Experience becomes hyper real, and flesh and spirit unite it the battle to remain breathing, conscious, aware. Afloat in the rushing stream of time. If we survive the threat, our existential epiphany quickly fades, for we cannot bear it long. Yet somewhere within us a dividing line remains. Before and after. Tonight, time slowed down so much I could taste it like copper on my tongue. I felt it against my skin, dense and heavy. resisting every move. Mortality hovered at my shoulder, a watchful beast of prey."
From here - This goes straight into a story we're supposed to jump into as if we know the background? Or maybe this is one of those end before the beginning books. I couldn't care less. Did you read the beginning? I couldn't go even a little bit further. I'm deep sometimes - But come on man - I'm not bottomless. Maybe Greg is a Walt Disney fan and dropped some acid before throwing up his brain on the pages of this..... Now that's good writing =0)
I listened to the first Penn Cage book.... It was so so - Long =0
There is 32 hours of 'The Bone Tree'.... More KKKraziness same ole same ole....
For what it's worth, J
I began this novel with an outward groan, not just in contemplation of the 816 pgs. (32 1/2 hrs. audio) facing me, but in reflection of part 1 of this trilogy, Natchez Burning. It was a brick of a book. It contained all the hallmarks of an entertaining read, but was weighed down with detail so burdensome I couldn't get momentum. The 32 hrs. felt like reading real-time. With that premise: Just a few days ago (book-wise), Penn Cage and his fiancée Caitlin Masters, barely escaped with their lives after a gruesome torture session at the hands of a sadistic break-off cell of the KKK. Bone Tree picks up on Day 2 and from the get-go it's clear, TBT loses no time tossing the barely on their feet couple back into the grinder. Wisely, Iles lays down a refresher course for those of us that can't recall the who-what-where & why's to the 35 hr. prequel. It's quick, but thorough.
This is a marathon of action (and listening), literally stuffed to capacity with new secrets that seem to begat more secrets, widening the circle of conspirators, and dangers for Penn, his family and dwindling support team...and I only wished for an editor occasionally this time out. While better than Natchez Burning, the same issues that tormented me through NB still appear in the pages of TBT: glut. But it's Iles' book and if he wants to include the dalliances of sandwich making and downloading Google Maps between dodging snipers and ever lurking ne'er-do-wells, then so be it. (I'd still argue a savvy editor would do some hefty pruning.) Tracking all the people and past events demands attention; the trivialities came close to being distracting. Keeping up with the KKK, the FBI, JFK, RFK, MLK, Castro, Snake, and so on, is mental charting for Mensa members.
Somewhere in the surfeit of detail and double-crosses, the quest switches from solving the murder of Dr. Tom Cage's African-American nurse Viola Turner in Natchez, to digging into questions about conspiracies in the murders of JFK, RFK, MLK. It seems a giant leap away from the South to Castro, but Iles says the trilogy is completed, which I interpret to mean he knows where it's all going. Book 2 avoids the *middle novel* doldrums with new revelations and unexpected twists, but it does continue that tradition of the hanging non-conclusion. Be warned that if you enter here, you're committed to the 3rd book. (If nothing else, you're so going to want to see how & if Snake gets what's coming to him.) Kennedy conspiracies seem overplayed, but I admit I'm curious to see how Iles answers his own questions; how he combines the facts that are his framework with his fictional story.
After the disappointment of NB, I didn't think I would continue with the trilogy. Two things changed my mind (and my son-in-law who's reading this with me):
- First of all, I didn't care for the narrator of NB, a choice that affected my experience of the book. But, I noticed that people who read, rather than listened to, the book, overwhelmingly liked it. Optimistically, I counted on a change of narrators to improve the *Penn Cage* experience. Petkoff is a talented, accomplished actor/narrator. He is expressive, energetic, and noteworthy...better than NB, but again, not how I hear Penn Cage. Why Dick Hill isn't narrating this trilogy...? I wondered if he was still working, and Google says he is. I miss the quality of voice he brought to Penn -- that laid back Southern Comfort that embodied the characters, the history and the place. Hoping for a better suited narrator with TBT turned out to be wishful thinking.
- Secondly, NB and TBT are both novels that border on the farcical, considering the characters, the collusion, complexity, conspiracy, and the nine lives of the all the players...at least I thought so, until I read about the very real journalist Stanley Nelson, the editor of The Concordia Sentinel, and Pulitzer Prize finalist. Nelson is fictionally portrayed by Iles as journalist Henry Sexton, and it's his journalistic work researching the '64 real-life killing of Frank Morris (depicted in NB as musician Albert Norris) by a KKK terrorist cell known as the Silver Dollar Group (depicted in NB as the Double Eagles) that inspired Iles' Natchez Burning. Unless Iles has painted himself into a corner, this can only have one heck of a conclusion.
For me, this book was the better book; the history added depth to the characters and their philosophies, and the story began to have direction and substance beyond just sensational violence. With the roots of the story embedded in history the book became more significant. "Truth is sometimes stranger than fiction..." to quote another Southerner.
While I was hesitant about part 2, I'm anxious for the conclusion. Then there's that issue of the narration.........
*[Natchez Burning is to become a cable series with Sony and Amazon Studios, produced by Tobey Maguire and David Hudgins]
I am not sure if it is the narrator or the story, I love Greg Iles, but I am finding it extremely boring to listen to this narration. I have only listened for about an hour. But am honestly deciding if I will even listen!
Not there and am not sure I will ever be!
Unable to tell
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