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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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Fans of Dave Robicheaux . . . dont overlook this!

Would you listen to Lay Down My Sword and Shield again? Why?

I don't typically listen to a book twice, but I would consider it with this one because the story is rich and the characters are deep.

What did you like best about this story?

I appreciate Burke's old school ethic exhibited through the conviction of his protagonists.

Which character – as performed by Will Patton – was your favorite?

Will Patton is Hack Holland. His interpretation of the character is spot on perfect.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

"Coming to a theater near you . . . a Lone Star political masterpiece for the ages!"

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Crisp, Southern Drama

Would you listen to Lay Down My Sword and Shield again? Why?

Will Patton's delivery caresses the words.

What did you like best about this story?

James Lee Burke always delivers - consistent pain and suffering with a solid final delivery.

Which scene was your favorite?

First chapter always sinks the hook.

Who was the most memorable character of Lay Down My Sword and Shield and why?

his characters play the team ideal, everyone contributes.

Any additional comments?

You have to read every one of his books....you really do.

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  • Sandra
  • Cincinnati, OH, United States
  • 11-20-12

This is a very difficult book to listen to

What did you like best about Lay Down My Sword and Shield? What did you like least?

I love James Lee Burke and I love Will Patton, but the alcoholism and the brutality in the book is hard for me. the part about the POW camp gave me nightmares and I had to stop listening.

What was most disappointing about James Lee Burke’s story?

I realize now, that this book was written a long time ago and I could really see how aged the book was.

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

Will Patton's performance was the best.

Do you think Lay Down My Sword and Shield needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Yes.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story

Great Texas story

What made the experience of listening to Lay Down My Sword and Shield the most enjoyable?

This story takes me back to my childhood in Texas, growing up just after my own father returned from Vetinaum. With all the unrest and chaos that was happening at the time and what he was trying to do to put a stop to it. Very well written

What other book might you compare Lay Down My Sword and Shield to and why?

None

What about Will Patton’s performance did you like?

Loved the characters

Any additional comments?

Very true to what was happening at the time, with so few people that would actually help those in need.

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  • Marty
  • Warrior, Albania
  • 08-25-12

Love JLB

Would you consider the audio edition of Lay Down My Sword and Shield to be better than the print version?

Yes

Any additional comments?

James Lee Burke should only let Will Patton read his books for him. His voice is smooth, with good ups and downs. Knows just where to put the right ? on the words. I could listen all day to Will Patton reading JLB books. <br/>Great, keep them coming....faster.....<br/>

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greast new character

Would you listen to Lay Down My Sword and Shield again? Why?

yes-great new character. 2nd time through, I often pick up new details

What other book might you compare Lay Down My Sword and Shield to and why?

Similar in feel to other Burke characters. Conflicted, tortured, but fundamentally principled. In other words, like a lot of us.

Any additional comments?

The combination of Will Patton as a reader, with Burke's slow but methodical revelation of character and conflict is irresistible to me. Have done the Dave Robicheaux books, now have a new series to look forward to.

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Pluses and Minuses

Burke writes description so vividly that I, who usually don't, appreciate it. He also Texas very nicely, and when he writes action, it pops.

OTOH, he dwells on downer phenomena like alcoholism, racism, exploitative fat cats, that strike me, at least in this book, as tiresome or cliche.

I preferred his Feast Day of Fools, a sequel to this book, and A Morning for Flamingoes, which IMO have more of Burke at his best, more real 3D characters and action that keeps you in the car in the garage after you're home.

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backstory for Hack Holland

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Highly recommend for anyone who likes the Hackberry Holland series. Well read. Good to know history.

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  • A User
  • Danville, IN, United States
  • 06-15-12

Another hit for Burke and Patton

What did you love best about Lay Down My Sword and Shield?

James Lee Burke is an amazing writer and there is no better narrator than Will Patton for his works. This book makes you laugh out loud, makes you think, gets you lost in the descriptive power of Burke's words, and you even like the characters. What a combo.

What did you like best about this story?

The Burke and Patton team. Can't be beat!

Which character – as performed by Will Patton – was your favorite?

They were all good, some more caricatures and really flesh and blood people. But they populate the story well and make it all come alive.

If you could take any character from Lay Down My Sword and Shield out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Really?

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  • Verl
  • COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, United States
  • 06-04-12

Jim Burke has gotten way better since 1971

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The poetic prose we all love from Burke is safe and sound in this early novel by my best and most favorite writer. But this is a tough read because it's difficult to separate the back story of a Korean war vet, now an alcoholic and pretty dislikable lawyer running for Congress in 1960's Texas. from the current plot line which involves farmworker union organizers in the Rio Grande Valley. I wish it had been one book or the other, because it was distracting making the leap from flash back to present tense. Not a lot of likable characters in a story that often seems unable to tell itself, or to decide which story to tell.

Would you recommend Lay Down My Sword and Shield to your friends? Why or why not?

I recommend it to those readers who've already decided they like Hackberry Holland from his two more recent novels, which I liked a lot! You'll be interested to see where Sheriff Holland came from. But if you're not already addicted to Burke's writing, this is not where I'd advise you to start reading.

Which scene was your favorite?

The Epilog.

What character would you cut from Lay Down My Sword and Shield?

The characters are all stock personalities done better in later work.

Any additional comments?

Not my favorite by a long shot, but not without redeeming quality either. The descriptive prose is good as ever. And it's interesting to use this as a gauge for later work.