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House of the Rising Sun: A Novel (A Holland Family Novel) Hardcover – December 1, 2015

3.9 out of 5 stars 385 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The well-paced action features the usual men at play with fists and guns, but Burke also offers three strong women with pivotal roles, one of whom could be a match for any of the tough guys. Burke [has a] sure hand for crisp dialogue and a compelling story..." (Kirkus)

"Two-time Edgar winner Burke sets Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland the task of protecting a precious artifact (is it the Holy Grail?) from a string of villains, including an Austrian arms dealer who sets his sights on Holland’s son Ishmael, who serves in the US Army; Burke does not disappoint." (Boston Globe)

“Readers of best-selling Burke's novels about the Holland family (Wayfaring Stranger) will gravitate to this prequel featuring the well-known and notoriously cantankerous Hackberry Holland. The large cast features complex and compelling characters, and the action deftly builds to a roaring boil.” (Library Journal)

“Stunning… Crisp dialogue highlights this tale of redemption and the bonds of family, and the breathtaking conclusion is one that readers won’t soon forget.” (Publishers Weekly (starred))

"Burke wins us over yet again with another fusillade of lyrical, deeply moving prose that makes us feel the beating hearts of all his characters, demon-wracked though they may be." (Booklist (starred))

“James Lee Burke’s finest literary work to date, cementing his reputation as one of America’s all-time masters.” (New York Journal of Books)

“Mr. Burke has crafted another epic tale in an unforgettable landscape about an imperfect man’s search for redemption. Once again, every member of the sprawling cast of characters, minor to major, makes an impression, and rings true…Mr. Burke’s novels always offer a compelling story.But, the reader is rewarded with a multitude of haunting themes that run deepand wide. Pick and choose the ones you wish to explore. They are skillfully andnon-intrusively woven into the narrative. But these layers are what always elevate a James Lee Burke novel above any genre tale.”
– Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

About the Author

James Lee Burke, a rare winner of two Edgar Awards, and named Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America, is the author of more than thirty previous novels and two collections of short stories, including such New York Times bestsellers as Light of the WorldCreole Belle, Swan Peak, The Tin Roof Blowdown, and Feast Day of Fools. He lives in Missoula, Montana.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Holland Family Novel
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition/First Printing edition (December 1, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1501107100
  • ISBN-13: 978-1501107108
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (385 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,956 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on December 7, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition
I’ve long considered James Lee Burke a contemporary literary giant, and am quite surprised to find myself writing a second critical review of one of his books, the first being last year’s “Wayfaring Stranger”.

Boiled down to its essence, the story is one of revenge, a dual-edged sword. Former Texas Ranger Hackberry Holland steals an ancient relic from Austrian arms merchant Arnold Beckman. In return, Beckman has Holland’s son kidnapped and held as ransom for the return of the treasure. In his own quest to recover his son Holland tries to destroy Beckman. That’s a simplification, but it’s the nut of the story.

The story isn’t told in a linear fashion; we jump decades back and forth as characters and background elements are introduced. I don’t know why Burke chose to tell his story this way; in my opinion it would have been much more engaging and powerful if told chronologically. Maybe it was so that he could introduce his main plot – revenge – early, because that aspect of the story really doesn’t take up the majority of the book.

I think there’s also a fine line between writing masterful literature and being just plain wordy, and in this book Burke crosses the line. It’s one thing to convey a sense of time and place, and quite another to spend half a page describing some wildflower on the side of the trail. I found myself often skipping ahead, sometimes a page or more at a time, just to get to a point where the story started moving forward again.

There were also points at which characters would act in what seemed to me to be arbitrarily out of character, without proper foundation laid for their actions. It didn’t happen often, but when it did it seemed to me to be a real clinker.

Anyway, not bad. But not up to Burke’s usual standards, either. Three stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been an admirer of James Lee Burke for more years than I care to remember, and I am deeply embarrassed for him. This is an absolutely awful novel. Confused, incoherent, and terribly written, there is no trace at all of the romantic lyricism which Burke has heretofore done better than any writer of his generation. That this book is being peddled to you says more about the state of publishing in American than anything else. Put a respected brand name on any old pile of crap and the publisher figures they can unload it on a bunch of people before they get caught. Did Burke even write this mess? I still can't believe it.
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Format: Hardcover
I received an advance copy of "House of the Rising Sun" in exchange for an honest review.

Approaching age eighty has done little to diminish James Lee Burke’s narrative gifts or his power and skill as one of America’s premier novelists. He is often called, with just cause, an American national treasure.

His newest novel, "House of the Rising Sun," focuses on the early years of the Hack Holland saga. It is a story of a fractured family and its seemingly doomed struggle to reconcile and reunite, of a lifetime of misunderstanding, misdirection, and trust destroyed.

Burke’s trademark juxtaposition of breathtaking lyricism and startling violence once more are at the forefront of the tale, and his glorious prose enraptures readers from the opening lines. Scenes are painted in exquisite detail that approach the cinematic.

Hackberry Holland is one of James Lee Burke’s iconic characters. Like most Burke protagonists, he is honorable at his core, yet struggles to control his violent tendencies, especially when the innocent are endangered. Hack is a good, intelligent man, complex and haunted, sensitive yet violent, fully cognizant of his flaws and fearful of losing control, which he does, over and over again.

Like most Burke heroes, Hackberry eats himself alive with guilt. As the story begins, Hack, a Texas Ranger, with his comrades unintentionally, while shooting at a train carrying Mexican revolutionaries, takes the lives of innocent riders, women and children. As the agent who visited pain and grief upon the innocent, haunted by his sin, he attempts to redeem himself.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a reason that James Lee Burke has two Edgar awards and many other awards to go along with them. He has been writing the best novels with some of the most complex characters for over fifty years. As I opened his latest book, HOUSE OF THE RISING SUN, I realized that this 80 year old man wasn't going to disappoint me. He has continued the saga of Hackberry Holland, former Texas Ranger, a man with many complications struggling to survive at the turn of the new century as he seeks to find his lost son. Hackberry travels with rangers into Mexico searching for his son, an Army captain. who is fighting with General Pershing's men to conquer the many different factions of the Mexican soldiers and revolutionists. He comes across some of his son's soldiers hanging from a tree and after being caught and tortured by the corrupt Mexican troops he escapes to seek revenge on them. After he kills the men and their general he finds an old hearse filled with weapons and ammunition that belongs to an arms dealer. He also finds some money, candlesticks, and a gold and jewel cup which he takes with him after destroying the weapons. He returns to Texas and over a period learns that his son is in France fighting the Germans.
Mr. Burke takes the reader on a journey from the past to the present day of Hackberry's life revealing that his ex-wife has kidnapped his son from the hospital under the orders of the arms dealer, who wants his cup back. Many things occur along the way that convince Hackberry that the cup may be the Holy Grail that Christ drank from at his Last Supper. As the Arms dealer, Arnold Beckman, sends men to steal the cup back Hackberry takes matters into his own hands and starts a war with Beckman that leaves both innocent and guilty men dead.
If you like an action packed story with mystery and intrigue Mr. Burke's new book will satisfy all your needs.
My problem with Mr. Burke is he keeps me waiting until his next thriller comes out.
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