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New York Times best seller James Lee Burke returns with his latest masterpiece, the story of a father and son separated by war and circumstance - and whose encounter with the legendary Holy Grail will change their lives forever.
From its opening scene in revolutionary Mexico to the Battle of the Marne in 1918, and on to the bordellos and saloons of San Antonio during the reign of the Hole in the Wall Gang, House of the Rising Sun is an epic tale of love, loss, betrayal, vengeance, and retribution that follows Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland on his journey to reunite with his estranged son, Ishmael, a captain in the United States Army.
After a violent encounter that leaves four Mexican soldiers dead, Hackberry escapes the country in possession of a stolen artifact, earning the ire of a bloodthirsty Austrian arms dealer who then places Hack's son, Ishmael, squarely in the crosshairs of a plot to recapture his prize, believed to be the mythic cup of Christ.
Along the way, we meet three extraordinary women: Ruby Dansen, the Danish immigrant who is Ishmael's mother and Hackberry's one true love; Beatrice DeMolay, a brothel madam descended from the crusader knight who brought the shroud of Turin back from the Holy Land; and Maggie Bassett, one-time lover of the Sundance Kid, whose wiles rival those of Lady Macbeth. In her own way, each woman will aid Hackberry in his quest to reconcile with Ishmael, to vanquish their enemies, and to return the Grail to its rightful place.
House of the Rising Sun is James Lee Burke's finest novel to date and a thrilling entry into the Holland family saga that continued most recently with Wayfaring Stranger, which the New York Times Book Review described as "saturated with the romance of the past while mournfully attuned to the unholy menace of the present".
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Craig on 12-11-15
Okay…I'll Say It
Hackberry Holland = Dave Robicheaux. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this story to some extent, however, my favorite author (James Lee Burke) used his most popular character's personality, foibles, quips and failures to morph Hackberry Holland into a more interesting anti-hero; one that happens to mirror in many easily recognizable ways his most endearing character, Dave Robicheaux. Thus, I say: Hackberry Holland is Dave Robicheaux, merely set in a new geographic and historical setting.
This book uses so many of the same literary references and imagery (e.g. The Garden of Gethsemane) from the Robicheaux novels that I began to feel like Burke was plagiarizing himself (is that possible?). When I heard Hackberry say he was "going to take it to them under a black flag," my observations were confirmed. That's when I felt very sad.
I asked myself, "Self, is Burke running out of material?" He may be, but he is still a fine writer and poet. The opening sequence is so compelling I started the novel over three times to enjoy the first several paragraphs. As for the rest…I think Dave is more believable. Hackberry is forced, as if he is trying too hard to be a broken man and self-destructive recidivist.
You'll enjoy most of this novel, but it may send you on a journey to seek a new master of the Western/Southern Motif genre.
I give it one Army Colt down and one up.
30 of 32 people found this review helpful
By Listener on 12-12-15
Hope this helps someone like me avoid this book
I had just listened to Wayfaring Stranger and really enjoyed that book. However, this was vastly different:
I'm a big fan of Will Patton as narrator on all other books I've listened to with him. But there are two characters (out of many) that were really hard to listen to and one of them is a main character in 2nd half. I couldn't even follow the story, I was so distracted by the indistinct accent and embarrassing drama of this one character. Whoever directed WP to perform this way should find another line of work.
I wish books were rated like movies - this would be an R due to excessive violence and torture. It looks like previous hackberry books were also like this, and that's why I avoided them. I thought this book may be more like Wayfaring Stranger.
Characters acting oddly:
And I'm compelled to add that too often characters would attack someone (maybe rightly) but it would be so inadequate that, of course, they would be overcome by the other side. Ie, would you calmly punch one bad guy while the other one was holding a gun to you? Too much of this.
29 of 34 people found this review helpful