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The Bone Tree: A Novel (Penn Cage) Paperback – September 13, 2016
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“Richly plotted…[and] the action-packed narrative moves swiftly to a surprising and moving conclusion.” (Publishers Weekly)
“Best-selling author Iles superbly blends past and present in his swift and riveting story line.” (Library Journal (starred review))
“The second installment of his hard-boiled Natchez trilogy finds Iles’ hero Penn Cage on even swampier, and surely deadlier, ground than before.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Absolutely compelling… A beautifully constructed story, some extremely fine writing, and some hard-to-bear tragedy.… Everything is big about this one: its epic scale [and] its built-in readership based on the success of its predecessor.” (Booklist (starred review))
“Race relations, adultery, murder, parenthood and friendship are all smashed together to form a searing saga of remorse and revenge. . . . Better than Natchez Burning. If the third book surpasses the first two then Iles will be elevated to the highest heights of famed storytellers.” (Huffington Post)
“’Great Expectations’ transplanted to an American South laced with comparably gothic overtones. . . . Establishes Iles as this generation’s William Faulkner, usurping Pat Conroy as our preeminent Southern writer and potentially establishing him as this era’s finest American novelist, thanks to this moving and meaningful masterpiece of storytelling.” (Providence Journal)
“Filled with menace, betrayal, [and] unexpected plot twists. . . . Running through this vast enterprise is the implicit belief that crime fiction is capable of addressing - and illuminating - any aspect of human behavior, including the tragic history of race relations in 20th-century America.” (Washington Post)
From the Back Cover
Penn Cage is caught in the darkest maelstrom of his life. The death of his father’s African-American nurse has fractured his family and turned Dr. Tom Cage into a fugitive. Penn has inadvertently started a war with an offshoot of the KKK, and Penn’s fiancée, journalist Caitlin Masters, is chasing the biggest story of her career.
Both Caitlin and federal authorities believe Tom can lead them to evidence of America’s most shameful history, a time when men committed race murders to conceal a conspiracy involving the Mafia, the Double Eagles, and the assassination of JFK. In the end, all roads lead to the Bone Tree, a legendary killing site that may conceal far more than the remains of the forgotten.
Enthralling and engrossing, The Bone Tree is a masterpiece of modern suspense and the next novel in the monumental trilogy that Greg Iles was born to write.
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Having now finished The Bone Tree, my opinion is that while it is not a bad book (I don't think Iles has it in him to write a bad book), it is a book that, for the most part, left me disappointed. As a matter of fact the extent of my disappointment is such that, at this point in time, I am undecided as to whether I'll want to make the time investment to read the final book in the trilogy. However, given my sense of loyalty to Iles, there's a decent probability that I will change my mind when Unwritten Laws comes out in about a year or so.
So why was I disappointed? One reason is that the book at 816 pages (which was even a little longer than Natchez Burning) was much too long, given that very little action of consequence occurs between the characters until the last couple of hundred pages. As such, I found myself at times skimming through large passages. Much of the book is talk, talk, talk with little action and few surprises. A second reason for my disappointment is that I found the book's jumping around between the sub-stories of its many characters to be convoluted and distracting, but even more importantly, somewhat unbelievable. While I don't want to get into any details to avoid spoiling anything for the reader, I will say that the events between two of the main characters while at the bone tree, both of whom were in extremely dire straits, was so unbelievable that I found myself rolling my eyes in disbelief. A third reason for my lukewarm feeling for The Bone Tree is that I found myself starting to not care much for the main character and for several of the other "good guy" characters very much; realizing that there really was just a thin grey line between their actions and the "real bad guys." Finally, the last major reason for my feeling let down is that Iles spent so much time writing about who killed JFK and why without providing sufficient suspense and surprises to justify the amount of pages devoted to this event. For me, by the time the 'big reveal' is made known, my reaction was "big whup".
Look, I know that if you read and enjoyed Natchez Burning you are most likely going to want to read The Bone Tree no matter what my review says. Further, although hopefully not, some people reading this review are probably going to give it a "no/not helpful" vote because they don't want to believe what I've said is true. Nonetheless, I hope my review provides you with some food for thought to help in deciding if The Bone Tree is a book for you.
But this is book #2 in the triology of Natchez Burning and Mississippi Blood...over 2,000 pages of the dark influence of racial injustice in Mississippi and Louisiana, and more specifically as relates to Penn Cage and his family and friends. All I can say is that you may need to be forewarned that you will not want to put the books in this triology down
...to eat, do household duties, fix family meals or even go to bed at your usual time. And NO ONE will figure out how events turn out, how characters will end up, even how the books will end. Greg Iles. Enough said.
I was ready to be done after the discovefies at the Bone Tree, yet we had many more tangents to endure, without prior basis to see them coming.
All in all, I was ready for the end about 250 pages before it quit.
Most recent customer reviews
It was a little repetitive but I could not quit until I had read every page.Read more