Fallen Land by Taylor Brown

1. First lines. 2. Published 2015 St Martin’s Press 3. Campfire By Emeldil [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikipedia 4. portrait-adult-man [Public Domain] via Pikist 5. Black horse [Public Domain] via Pikrepo

Callum and Ava are being chased by bounty hunters across Carolina and Georgia in the last year of the American Civil War. They are riding a stolen black horse called Riever, foraging for food and taking shelter whenever they can, and dodging a number of dangerous characters.

“Dawn broke over the saw-toothed ridges to the east, the sky a featureless gray. Bursts of wind tore across the open meadow, rendered in waves of white mist-rain that cut through their coats and gloves. Mud caked them from head to foot. Their fingers were stiff, their hands palsied as they readied the saddle for the day’s ride.”

“Callum rode slumped in the saddle. Wet, cold. The sky crashed above them, thunder and the echo of thunder sounding through the valleys. The naked mangling of branches above them whirled and clattered, raftering the storm like the antlers of crazed beasts.”

“You like to think that people, in general, and I mean in the scale of generations, are learning from their mistakes, getting better. But with all I seen I don’t know I could believe that.”

“A scream woke them, curdling through the morning dark. They did not jolt or straighten, by instinct. The dead crackle of their bedding would betray them. Instead their eyes flicked wide at one another, pale halos at the whites.”

~Quotes from “Fallen Land” by Taylor Brown
My opinion:

This story grabbed me from the first page, and kept me engrossed throughout. The building of tension as the chase continued made this book a real page-turner, and such vivid descriptions of the setting made it easy to picture the action. And the horse is a hero!

The opinion of others:
  • Washington Independent Review of Books: “For a first-time novelist, the author demonstrates mastery of the ability to immerse readers in a setting and period. Brown set out to “interweave [the] characters’ story with the world as it was at that time,” and he nailed it.”
  • Kirkus: “… this is American literature at its best, full of art and beauty and the exploration of all that is good and bad in the human spirit.”
  • Historical Novel Society: “Despite the fact that this is Taylor Brown’s debut novel, the sophistication and maturity of the writing speak to the talents of an experienced writer. Though the pacing is halting at times, the narrative is compelling, and the prose is both evocative and literary in feel, despite being a shorter novel.”

Other edition.

Author: Taylor Brown

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