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In the Rogue Blood Hardcover – September 21, 1997

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 344 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1st edition (September 21, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380974924
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380974924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Forget Davy Crockett and the other "heroes" of the Alamo. Blake's (The Friends of Pancho Villa, Berkley, 1996) third novel offers a much bloodier and more terrible picture of the West than legends would have us believe. In 1845, Edward Little and his brother, John, flee their Florida home, leaving behind a missing sister and a mother driven insane by her drunken, abusive husband. Heading for the Mexican border towns, the brothers get separated in New Orleans. They each make their way to Texas, joining up with like-minded fellows out for adventure and Indian-killing. Edward and John end up on opposite sides when the United States declares war on Mexico; not even brotherly love can bridge the gap created by the Rio Grande in the 1840s. Episode after episode of unrelieved murder and mayhem as experienced by mostly inarticulate men make up this fast-moving, unromanticized Western. Recommended for public libraries.?Nancy Pearl, Washington Ctr. for the Book, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Blake (The Pistoleer, 1995, etc.) again demonstrates his talent for mingling historical fact with fiction, in the case here of the Mexican War and the antebellum frontier. Brothers John and Edward Little return to their remote north Florida farm from a search for their runaway sister only to find their father on a murderous rampage. The boys defend themselves and kill their father. Their mother, meanwhile, has fled. Left alone, the teenagers set out for Texas, but they become separated in New Orleans. John, who can't control his violent nature, kills a man and, to escape hanging, joins Zachary Taylor's Mexican Warbound army. Edward, in the meantime, also commits murder but flees to Texas and after several bloody adventures ends up in Mexico. He first joins a company of scalp-hunters, then takes up with a band of Mexican bandits who are ultimately impressed into US Service as the infamous Spy Company. For his part, John deserts the army and joins the St. Patrick's Brigade, composed of Americans (mostly Irishmen) fighting on the Mexican side. Shifting between the brothers' parallel stories, Blake offers a virtual encyclopedia of graphic violence. People are shot, clubbed, knifed, eviscerated, castrated, decapitated, impaled, flayed alive, hanged, scalped, dismembered, blown up, and immolated. And sexual perversions run the gamut from rape to sodomy to incest and necrophilia; only bestiality is omitted. Brutality and grotesque images are played out against invariably blood-red sunsets and dawns. Blake's assured prose, knowledge of history, and fast-paced story are definite pluses, but in its last third the complexities of the war and the redundancy of mind-numbing violence overwhelm the characters, finally rendering them rather absurd. (First printing of 25,000) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

I'm a huge fan of Blakes writing.
I highly recommend that you read this one as well as the others in his catalog.
R. Michael Oguin
The stories are fast paced and well thought out.
Peter A. Friedman

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By K. Freeman on February 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
Blake is a wonderful stylist. His vivid imagery and stark, eloquent language breathe life into this book and make it outstanding. Readers who enjoy Cormac McCarthy's books will find this to be similar in many of its good qualities.
In the Rogue Blood is the story of two brothers in the 1840's. They travel West and get mixed up in the Mexican War; one ends up fighting for Mexico in the San Patricios, while the other joins a band of Mexican scouts fighting for the United States. The end, as one might expect from Blake, is not a happy one.
It's a tribute to Blake's writing that I was able to enjoy the book despite his characters. They're walking lizard brains, constantly sleeping with whores and getting in pointless fights. However period they may be, they're not very interesting people. The plot bogs down in the middle, when the characters seem to be meaninglessly repeating their brutal behavior ad nauseam, but picks up when they become involved in the war. Female characters here exist primarily for the use of men, though one could argue that part of the tragedy of John and Edward is that they are never capable of comprehending their wild mother and sister.
Much of 1840's America as presented by Blake seems accurate to me, though his version is certainly a very bleak one, sometimes melodramatically so. This is an ugly West, full of cruelty and deformity, with malice towards all, and sometimes the sheer ugliness of everything taxed my suspension of disbelief.
Nevertheless, this is a powerful tragedy and a brilliantly styled book, which I strongly recommend.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By M. Meszaros on November 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Except maybe Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" there is no other book I can think of that compares with Blake's noir, hardcore, historically-based vision of the 1840s west. He is a natural storyteller who loves spinning the hard-hitting tale, occasionally at the expense of finer language (which he is perfectly capable of crafting when he chooses to do so). A harrowing depiction of wild souls and the decisions they make (or don't make) and the consequences of their actions.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jemma on August 22, 2005
Format: Paperback
I think this book is definetly the most gruesome and gory book i have ever read.In my opinion this is James Carlos Blake's best book. My teacher recomended his books, and especially this one, knowing that I enjoy "guy" books. This book has made me laugh, cry, and gag. I could'nt believe how unbelievably descriptive and graphic it was, it kept me up for hours because i couldnt put it down. I highly recommend this book to any guy who enjoys appalling, grim, gritty, and repulsive stories, with a touch of twisted romance. Also to any girl that enjoyes the above qualities in a story.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Azizi on August 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
I'm a huge fan of Blakes writing. I tried Cormack McCarthy, but couldn't get into it. Blake's style may be easy reading, but the vivid imagery he creates while you read is priceless to me. Who couldn't enjoy this amazing story of family and adventure. Individual lifes swirl with mystery and suspense as they weave amongst others. I recommend all of Blakes books to anyone who enjoys a great action novel with fantastic characters that are hard to forget and easy to empathise with. Far from a fairy tale writer, Blake is an extrordinary author who deserves recognition. Don't browse over this title, you'll really be missing out.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Corey Lidster on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
Blake's debt to Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy is a large one, and as the story progresses it's clear he should be paying rent for moving into the territory owned by 'Blood Meridian'. But 'The Kid' was just as alone as everyone else in Cormac McCarthy's greatest work. The Little's are still tethered by painful familial bonds as they each make their lonely traversals of an American frontier indistinguishable from hell. Even after this f****d up family explodes, after the mother orchestrates a betrayal that uses her own sons as murder weapons -- pushing the young men into patricidal actions heavier and older than the spoken word -- the brothers still need to find their mother and sister. Whether it's loyalty or vengeance that drives their search, is something never made clear. The brothers Little may not know the answer themselves. Their reasons are complicated, and in some respects, perverse. Their father was not a good man, and their mother likely had compelling grievances, but she also used them both and discarded them. On the surface, they want to find their sister because she's their sister, to protect her from the filth, and disease, and violence that rages all around them; but one of the boys may have darker, uglier reasons of his own.

When the brothers lose each other in the chaotic mass of bodies, the humid, steaming swamp of New Orleans, more bad things happen -- including an unforgettable scene when a skilled French duellist faces off with Edward over a minor insult, and uses his rapier to cut his opponent repeatedly from a distance, since he is armed with a shorter Bowie knife and is unfamiliar with fencing. It is only when the fencing ends, by means of tactics that don't appear in aristocratic duels, that the Frenchman discovers the savage effectiveness of a Bowie.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By ss on January 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
blake has a sincere and vivid imagery, with empathy as portrayed by his characters. the portrayal of what real violence is, has to win Blake some kind of award. his characters are real, and they react as normal men (and women) would react under similar circumstances,anger, loss of a sibling, or, just trying to survive in this world of the 1840's. in the author's heart, there is a certain compassion, as seen in real men under real and violent circumstances---and the acceptance of one's fate.

cormack mccarthy sees the forest of violence, blake sees the leaves in the forest--a destiny to which the main characters are condemned. i wonder what war blake served in, or does he see true visions as his namesake the artist and poet (edward blake) saw violence in his poetry and art. Blake sure knows how to describe violence with reality. this book will stir your emotions.

stan sanders, m.d.
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