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Lay Down My Sword and Shield Audiobook

Lay Down My Sword and Shield

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Publisher's Summary

The hero of James Lee Burke's recent best-seller Rain Gods, cousin to lawman Billy Bob Holland and a genuine product of the South, both old and new, Hackberry Holland makes his first appearance in this early gem from "America's best novelist" (The Denver Post).

Against the backdrop of growing civil rights turmoil in a sultry border town, the hard-drinking ex-POW attorney yields to the myriad urgings of his wife, his brother, and his so-called friends to make a bid for a congressional seat - and finds himself embroiled in the seamy world of Texas powerbrokers. And when Hack attempts to overturn an old army buddy's conviction, and crosses paths with a beautiful union organizer who speaks to his heart in a way no one else has, he finds both a new love and a new purpose as he breaks free from the shackles of wealth and expectation to bring justice to the underserved.

©2010 James Lee Burke (P)2010 Simon & Schuster

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (956 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (732 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.5 (741 )
5 star
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4 star
 (177)
3 star
 (55)
2 star
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1 star
 (11)
Performance
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  •  
    Tomer 02-27-10
    Tomer 02-27-10 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story well told"

    This one pulled me right in. Mr. Patton's narration is perfect.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 03-06-10
    Eva Gannon Chicago, Illinois, US 03-06-10 Member Since 2017
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    "Ambivalent"

    The title of this review expresses my ambivalence between the quality of the writing and story telling, and my intense dislike of the main character. The four star rating is largely homage to Burke's writing, and his bringing to life the farm worker's struggle for fair treatment. It's also in appreciation of the light he casts on the type of people who succeed in politics, and why.

    There are scenes between Hack and Veresa that are drawn with a surgeon's scalpel, and you can almost feel the blood oozing out of your own pores. Similarly, Hack's brother's complaints have the ring of truth and I longed for him to throw Hack out on his drunk butt.

    Hack's political career is drawn from the headlines. The lurid details of his drunken escapades can be found in the real reports of politicians' misdeeds, sorry to say.

    Hackberry Holland is an abhorrent character. He's a selfish, self-absorbed, egotistical, alcoholic who blames all of his problems on other people. In many ways, he's stereotyped, as are the women with whom he interacts.

    He falls into the farm workers struggle not out of principle, but in an alcoholic binge. I would have had more respect for him had he had some principle about it.

    Yes, he was a POW in a Chinese camp and his treatment there defies comprehension. Burke describes it extensively, and in great detail. Too much is given over to this, so much so that it felt like mere sensationalism, a disappointment from a writer of Burke's ability.

    Will Patton does his usual excellent job narrating the book.

    Although overall I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure I'll read any more books featuring Hackberry Holland.

    16 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-11-15
    Richard Delman San Francisco 04-11-15 Member Since 2017

    I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books.

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    "Maybe it's time for James Lee to hang 'em up."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    No. Not when you have read as many of his books as I have. His gifts are so outsized that I have come to expect truly marvelous entertainment from him, particularly when he is paired with the remarkable Will Patton. However, the well just has to run dry sooner or later, and I am afraid that in Hack Holland we are seeing the grisly death of Mr. Burke's outlandish writerly talents. When he sinks this low, he becomes compulsively violent. Other readers have commented on this, and it is most certainly true. The violence is relentless and by now pointless. We know that Dave Robicheaux and Clete Purcell and now Hack Holland have all brought back the horrible nightmares of Korea and Viet Nam, as have minor characters galore, but the piling on is serving to diminish the point here, not to heighten its emphasis. The reader can only listen to so many nightmares about grisly murders, decapitations, etc. etc. etc. before the shock value of these wears off completely. By this time I have lost the point. At first I understood the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that these men bring home and try to cope with in their lives after war, but these thousands of pages cannot serve simply to make those points over and over again. The books, and this one in particular, are so much about conflict in so many relationships across such a broad spectrum of people in Texas that you wonder how it is that they don't just kill each other off and be done with it. There'd be no one left to write about, I spose.


    If you’ve listened to books by James Lee Burke before, how does this one compare?

    As above, the emphasis on conflict in its multifarious manifestations (sorry; I won't do that again) just begin to make the mind roll over and lose the point completely. Let's see: Texas law enforcement is a rotten, corrupt-to-the-core pigsty; politicians are lying whores who will say and do anything for money and their own despicable personal gain and ambition (gee whiz!), the women are just as nasty as the men, etc. Are we taking notes here?


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Will Patton?

    I do love Will Patton. His voice is delightful, with that gravelly texture that is easy to snuggle up to at night. He is a great selling point for any audiobook.


    Did Lay Down My Sword and Shield inspire you to do anything?

    Like, move to Texas, become oil-rich and run for political office? Uh, no.


    Any additional comments?

    No. Time to either retire, or to change the focus, and as the boys at Monte Python would have it, do something completely different. How about exploring some uplifting aspect of human nature? I hear uproarious laughter. Just a thought. Doesn't sell many books.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 04-09-14
    Joe Kraus Kingston, PA, United States 04-09-14 Member Since 2011
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    "Burke...but not at his best"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    Burke is a well above average talented writer, and this is interesting for its glimpse at the young novelist figuring it out. There are some nice passages, and you get that there's really something at stake: the tough-guy protagonist has some real decisions to make about where his allegiance lies and how much he can tolerate in the face of deep corruption. I can't help reading it as Burke himself trying out different aesthetics for his own work.

    That said, this doesn't age all that well. The protagonist's narcissism gets old. The reconciliation of an early 1970s counter-culture sensibility with 1950s noir shows its seams (and feels forced). The maybe-interesting-for-her-day love interest gets reduced too quickly to arm candy after a promising beginning. And the climax resolves less than I'd like.

    I enjoyed parts of it a good bit as a flashback to an earlier time, but it didn't hold up for me through the end, and I found myself dragging for the last quarter.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. 03-14-10
    S. 03-14-10 Member Since 2007
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    "Not his best -"

    I love James Lee Burke - but I must say this was probably my least favorite book. His second book with this charater is better, and you don't need to read this one to enjoy the next. Skip it -

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-04-16
    Wayne Matthews, NC 10-04-16 Member Since 2017

    I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!

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    "This book and this series are not Burke's best"

    Narrator/actor Will Patton takes a mediocre novel and makes it excellent. I am not a fan of reading James Lee Burk's novels, but listening to Will Patton narrate them makes them so much better. This is a good book with outstanding narration.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Schulte 06-22-16
    Schulte 06-22-16 Member Since 2014

    I drive an hour to my office as an attorney. I have done this for 14 years. I would not be able to do this without my books on tape.

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    "Background for series"
    What did you like best about Lay Down My Sword and Shield? What did you like least?

    This is all about the life story of the Hackberry Holland, the new series. There is very little plot or story otherwise. I fast forwarded through much, especially the Korean War POW part which is a major portion of the book.


    Has Lay Down My Sword and Shield turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Not at all. I will probably listen to the next story but after a long break with other books. I love the genre. James Lee Burke's preaching can be tiresome.


    What does Will Patton bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    His narrative is always excellent. I don't like when the narrator tries to do a different voice or accent for each character. Paxton read with an accent and emotion appropriate for the story. He is perfect for the Burke stories.


    Was Lay Down My Sword and Shield worth the listening time?

    Only if you plan on reading the series, so you have the background. I am really not sure. if you care why Holland was a drunk and philanderer and left her former life to become a sheriff?


    Any additional comments?

    Disappointing based on reviews I read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Conner Lancaster Pa 03-21-16
    Michael Conner Lancaster Pa 03-21-16 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Good writing for time and place"

    This is an excellent book on life in the south during a tumultuous time period. Great characters. Can't think of a better narrator for this than Will Patton. Read one other, 1st book in the Robicheaux series. This one is a stand alone. Will read many more. Quality writer. Listen too it. You can't lose.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nancy United States 02-17-16
    Nancy United States 02-17-16 Member Since 2008
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    "Not a good fit for Will Patton"

    Entirely spoiled by the cowboy reading by Will Patton. Might have been a good book otherwise, but I'll never know.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashley L. 02-16-16
    Ashley L. 02-16-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Loved every minute!"

    Not my usual genre but I took a chance because this was on sale last week. Amazing story that really comes to life with Will Patton's narrations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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