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Publisher's Summary

Now, for the first time in a century, Zane Grey’s best-known novel is presented in its original form exactly as he wrote it.

When in the early 1900s Zane Grey took his manuscript to two publishing companies, they rejected it because of the theme of Mormon polygamy, fearing it would offend their readers and subscribers. Then Grey made a special plea to Frederick Duneka, who was vice-president of Harper & Bros. and who had been Mark Twain’s editor at that company. Duneka and his wife read the novel and liked it but feared it would offend some readers. Harper & Bros. agreed to publish a changed version of the novel and purchased both the book and magazine-serial rights. Given the task of executing the necessary editorial changes, a senior editor of the company made changes in tone, diction, and style as well as content. The novel first appeared in nineteen installments in the monthly magazine Field & Stream from January 1912 to July 1913.

Blackstone Audio here presents the original, uncensored, unabridged novel Riders of the Purple Sage, obtained through the Golden West Literary Agency with the cooperation of Zane Grey’s son, Loren Grey, and the Ohio State Historical Society.

In Cottonwoods, Utah, in 1871, a woman stands accused and a man is sentenced to whipping. Into this travesty of small-town justice rides the one man whom the town elders fear. His name is Lassiter, and he is a notorious gunman who's come to avenge his sister's death. It doesn't take Lassiter long to see that this once peaceful Mormon community is controlled by the corrupt Deacon Tull, a powerful elder who's trying to take the woman's land by forcing her to marry him, branding her foreman as a dangerous 'outsider'. Lassiter vows to help them. But when the ranch is attacked by horse thieves, cattle rustlers, and a mysterious masked rider, he realizes that they're up against something bigger, and more brutal, than the land itself.

©2005 Zane Grey, Inc. (P)2010 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“Zane Grey epitomized the mythical West that should have been…The standout among them is Riders of the Purple Sage.” (True West)
“Poignant in its emotional qualities.” (New York Times)
“A powerful work, exceedingly well written.” (Brooklyn Eagle)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Great book

It's getting harder and harder to find good books that aren't filled with foul language and sex. This is a good clean book. A little cheesy at times but give me cheesy over raunchy any day. Maybe I'm a minority as far as that goes but it's getting harder to find a book that I would recommend to my kids that are adults now.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Not the cowboy adventure story you expect

"Riders of the Purple Sage" is a classic of Western genre fiction, and I was looking forward to a good cowboy adventure story. It turns out that this is far less an adventure story and much more a morality tale about the abuse of power by religious leadership. The story is set during the era of Utah's pre-statehood 'theocratic democracy' and chronicles the conflicts that arise from attempts to force women into unwanted polygamous marriages and the church's violent efforts of the era to exclude non-Mormons from Utah. When it's done being a morality tale, it's a good old-fashioned romance.

The gunman, Lassiter, one of the most famous characters in Western literature, acts as a contrast to the perverse religiosity of the locals by acting according to his own moral code and sense of justice. He's the original Man in Black.

In the end the characters aren't developed deeply enough for the story to hold together completely. Still, there are a couple of good adventure sequences, beautifully described canyon country of southern Utah, and the bad guys all get what they deserve.

Nice narration by Mark Bramhall, though he's weak on the female voices.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Western classic of Mormons as the Bad guys.

What did you like best about Riders of the Purple Sage? What did you like least?

I enjoyed the story especially the discovery of the secret valley. I didn't care much for the dated treatment of women, however this book isn't as bad as some I have read.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was perfect and well worth waiting for.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

Mark Bramhall has the perfect western twang to his voice. He doesn't do as good a job as the women, is horrendous for little Fay and sometimes all the men sound the same, but his voice is a good listen.

Do you think Riders of the Purple Sage needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

I would love to find out what happens next, especially to little Fay!

Any additional comments?

Zane Grey is an icon of western literature and is a great listen for those who love this genre.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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There's a reason why he's a legend

I hardly think that I'm going to make a contribution to the reputation of Zane Grey, but if you have never read anything by him, and you think you "don't like westerns" then pick up this book, because you're in for a surprise.

Set in a time and place that we can't conceive, Grey writes about how people come to find their "true grit" and its impact on their lives and the lives of those around them because of it.

I found myself drawn into the story, the depth of the characters and the intricate weave of life that he creates among them. Grey is a master storyteller. He describes the landscape so well, you can really see it in your mind's eye.

And that's just the surface. You are swept along as the characters begin to question their beliefs, and in many cases abandon them, in others find a particular value in them that makes them stronger people as a consequence.

This is a book I'll read again, and again. There's that much detail and perfect storytelling, that it's more than worth a second or third read.

Buy it, read it, enjoy it, learn from it. What more could you ask for?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not my favorite, and is over sold.

It's not my very favorite, the reviews over sell the story a bit. The beginning drags on for a bit. The narration of the fighting and racing scenes isn't as dramatic as I would have hoped. Over all its a good story but I found myself only half listening to it the majority of the time.

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  • Richard
  • Durango, CO, United States
  • 06-23-17

Astoundingly Good Western

If you could sum up Riders of the Purple Sage in three words, what would they be?

Captivating, captivating, captivating

What other book might you compare Riders of the Purple Sage to and why?

Lonesome Dove. Extremely well written, great character development, believable, replete with Shakespearean twists and resolutions.

Which character – as performed by Mark Bramhall – was your favorite?

Lassiter

If you could take any character from Riders of the Purple Sage out to dinner, who would it be and why?

Jane Witherspoon ... an incomparably conscious, independent, principled kind lady who lives religious values far beyond those of the church elders who act in so many ways contrary to what they merely jabber about in their formal services.

Any additional comments?

I've known a little about this tale for probably 50 years, but I had no idea just how terrific it actually is. Then I read it a few weeks ago and then heard this audible presentation. Holy cow! Mr. Grey of Zanesville really is an outstanding author, and the reader of this version is off-the-charts outstanding. It's also an unexpected, tremendous tribute to women.

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Western story

It's a very predictable plot but it is beautifully written and the recording is very engaging. The imagery is so great. It will have you thinking that you are riding on the purple sage.

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Brought to life by narrator. Values and imagery .

This is a book I had in my attic for years kept only because it was autographed in pencil. I was never able to have the patience to read it. Unfortunately decided to give it away, something I sincerely now regret.. For some odd reason I decided to check if there was an audio book for it. In my opinion This book was meant to be read aloud.
Very slow moving at times but always vivid and we'll planned.. definitely brought to life by the narrator.. I gave it 5 stars. Not only is it one of the first westerns written, it also takes on the subject of religious freedom, corruption, and blind faith. A century after this book was written we read the news of the results of such blind faith.





s because of the message it sends.

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Zane Grey

always a good read or listen. Great story and descriptions of the countryside that surrounds the story.

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Fantastic classic

I fully enjoyed listening to this fantastic classic, the gripping tale of drama and intrigue. I highly recommend it.