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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Finalist, Literary Fiction, 2014

Soon to be a TV Series on AMC starring Pierce Brosnan and co-written by Philipp Meyer.

The critically acclaimed, New York Times bestselling epic, a saga of land, blood, and power that follows the rise of one unforgettable Texas family from the Comanche raids of the 1800s to the oil booms of the 20th century.

Part epic of Texas, part classic coming-of-age story, part unflinching examination of the bloody price of power, The Son is a gripping and utterly transporting novel that maps the legacy of violence in the American west with rare emotional acuity, even as it presents an intimate portrait of one family across two centuries.

Eli McCullough is just twelve-years-old when a marauding band of Comanche storm his Texas homestead and brutally murder his mother and sister, taking him as a captive. Despite their torture and cruelty, Eli—against all odds—adapts to life with the Comanche, learning their ways, their language, taking on a new name, finding a place as the adopted son of the chief of the band, and fighting their wars against not only other Indians, but white men, too-complicating his sense of loyalty, his promised vengeance, and his very understanding of self. But when disease, starvation, and westward expansion finally decimate the Comanche, Eli is left alone in a world in which he belongs nowhere, neither white nor Indian, civilized or fully wild.

Deftly interweaving Eli's story with those of his son, Peter, and his great-granddaughter, JA, The Son deftly explores the legacy of Eli's ruthlessness, his drive to power, and his life-long status as an outsider, even as the McCullough family rises to become one of the richest in Texas, a ranching-and-oil dynasty of unsurpassed wealth and privilege.

Harrowing, panoramic, and deeply evocative, The Son is a fully realized masterwork in the greatest tradition of the American canon-an unforgettable novel that combines the narrative prowess of Larry McMurtry with the knife edge sharpness of Cormac McCarthy.

©2013 Philipp Meyer (P)2013 HarperCollinsPublishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Jennifer
  • Chapel Hill, NC, USA
  • 08-09-13

Not a single sympathetic character

I usually like stories about the old west, but this one had not a single character that I could relate to in any way. There is no true hero or villain, and every character seems to alienate themselves quickly. The story is marginal. I kept holding out hope that something interesting would happen, but it never did. I thought the performance was true to the story. I think given the right part, Kate Mulgrew could really shine. I'll be looking for other stories narrated by her.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Overrated

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

A Texan

What could Philipp Meyer have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Less whining by Peter, a better ending, less everything.....

Did the narration match the pace of the story?

The voice of Peter was pathetic, as was his character

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Son?

Cut back on the vulgarity. It does not enhance this long-winded story

Any additional comments?

Sorry I bought it and finished it. So disappointed

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Rich and evocative!

Deep characters. I listened to this book on Audible. Excellent audio performances. If it's been made into an AMC series, I will look forward to seeing it.

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Fantastic Texas saga!

Philipp Meyer’s saga is a thrilling read. The front and back end of the narrative are reminiscent of The Boy Captive and The Big Rich, both very fine historical Texas books. The story has built in cliffhangers with oscillations to different points of the timeline to on a multigenerational basis and in Eli’s case a 100 year journey spanning one of the greatest expansions of native land to modern society as ever seen. This story is unvarnished and not appropriate for naive minds or sheltered children. The narrations by Patton, Mulgrew et al are masterful!

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Too Crude, Too bad

Good story line but way too crude for my liking. Too bad because it was an interesting plot- interesting characters.

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AMAZING

One of the beat books I’ve ever read (or heard). Of course, I think I could listen to Will Patton read the license agreement I always skip on software updates and be enthralled. He is incredibly gifted at voices and nuance. The other narrators were great as well. But it certainly helped them that this story is something special. Perhaps it is because I am a ‘native’ (whatever that means) of the Llano Estacado. I was born and raised and live to this day three thousand miles above sea level on the Caprock where the winds are relentless. It is rare to find poetry about this place, but this book is almost a love letter. While it is about the McColloughs it is also most certainly about the land. Just last month my daughter and I spent an entire weekend searching for flint and arrowheads. If the rocks could talk, or if I knew how to listen, the tale would likely be similar to the one Meyer wrote. This is one I will share with my father and my nephew, and yes, with my son.

  • Overall

GREST STORY

Loved this book, I hope the they will write a second book! The story must continue!

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i loved this book period!

where can I find another like it.? I read almost any type of book and listen to many more. This book kept me interested until the end wishing for more.....

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Good but overrated

The book is narrated primarily by three different characters, only one of which is remotely sympathetic. The main character, Eli, is a sociopath with no apparent redeeming qualities and the bulk of his story is about him killing people, first as an adoptee of the Comanche, then as a Texas Ranger, and finally as a rancher and oilman who is just a sociopathic murderer. It starts with Eli's family being murdered horrifically by Comanche Indians, and he has no apparent grief over this, and immediately becomes just like the Comanches and kills alongside them as one of them. There is no compelling explanation why he is such a cold-blooded murderer - the reader is supposed to assume, I guess, that everyone was a cold-blooded murderer in the 1800s in the wild west, and that's just how people were then. Another character is Jeannie McCullough, whose story is so boring and pointless I wanted to fast-forward through her parts. The audio performances were superb but nonetheless, as an audiobook, the book was confusing because it jumps from Eli in the 1800s to his son Pete in the 1915s to Jeannie McCullough in the later 1900s, and I had to do google searches to figure out how they were related to one another. If I'd had the book in paper or Kindle form, I'd have read all the Eli sections, followed by all the Pete sections, and then skipped the stupid Jeannie sections, and it would have read better. The jumping around is a conceit that the author uses to make the book seem more deep or something. I kept thinking the Eli story was going to get far enough such that the events in Pete's story would start making sense -- e.g., explain why the McCulloughs were such bloodthirsty murderers even in the 1915s, because Pete's story seems to just start in the middle with no context of why the characters are such awful people -- but I was 2/3 through and the stories still didn't connect or explain one another, and then I just got sort of bored with the book. The book is also too full of itself, with the characters pontificating about humankind over the centuries. There are much better Westerns, and much better books about Texas history / Indian history / the history of the American West, with protagonists who are sympathetic and who you actually care about. Among the Shoshones is one. James Michener's books are others. I was surprised this book was so acclaimed and was a finalist for the Pulitzer -- but then I remembered that Angle of Repose won the Pulitzer and I found that book to be utterly unreadable.

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Stories of a Texas family

Very well narrated. Confusing at times but a good read/listen would recommend to a friend